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Jan, 10 2017

​Burmans pick up 20 percent stake in Cerestra Advisors

Cerestra Edu-Infra, which is raising USD 400 million offshore and domestic funds, has acquired some schools assets of Witty International, Jain Group of Institutions and GEMS Education in Gurgaon, Bangalore and Jaipur.

Gaurav Burman of Burman Family Holdings, the investment arm of the controlling shareholders at consumer goods maker Dabur, has picked up a 20 percent stake in Cerestra Advisors, a real estate private equity investor focused on education infrastructure and industrial parks.

Burmans will be the anchor Indian investor in Cerestra, in which in the London-based The Capital Partnership (TCP), an independent asset manager of the uber rich, is the largest shareholder with a direct 49 percent stake.

Cerestra is building a real estate portfolio of K12 schools, biotech, life sciences and apparel parks through acquisitions. It plans to list these "socially relevant and business critical" real estate assets as specialized real estate investment trusts (REITs) on the Indian or overseas bourses. Ceresta founders—Jasmeet Chhabra, a former managing director of Red Fort Capital and Vishal Goel, ex-India head of NYSE-listed Alexandria REIT—together control the remaining 31 percent shareholding.

Cerestra already owns a portfolio worth USD 125 million through nine schools and a knowledge park, through two verticals Cerestra Edu-Infra Fund and industrial parks branded as Mission Neutral.

Cerestra Advisors managing partner Jasmeet Chhabra, said, "We will benefit from the strong Indian anchoring and professional working environment the Burman family brings to the table just as TCP helps us with a robust global outreach."

With about USD 8 billion in assets, TCP mostly manages the wealth of the Middle East billionaires, who like their global peers are investing in rent-yielding real estate assets in high growth economies such as India.

Cerestra Edu-Infra, which is raising USD 400 million offshore and domestic funds, has acquired some schools assets of Witty International, Jain Group of Institutions and GEMS Education in Gurgaon, Bangalore and Jaipur.

For industrial parks, Cerestra has a joint venture with Singapore-based hedge fund Lighthouse Canton, which recently acquired Alexandria Knowledge Park at Genome Valley in Hyderabad.

The Sebi has notified REIT guidelines galvanizing global investors like Blackstone Group, GIC of Singapore and Canada’s Brookfield, which have bet big money on acquiring the country’s large tenanted, income-earning real estate that provide stable returns. 

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