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Apr, 05 2018

UAE Fund Manager Equitativa mulls REIT to buy school assets in India

Equitativa currently manages three schools Jebel Ali School, British Columbia Canadian School and Gems World Academy.

UAE-based asset manager Equitativa Group is planning to enter into the Indian education sector through a real estate investment trust (REIT) as the caretaker of school assets.

Equitativa, the fund manager for Shariah-compliant and Nasdaq Dubai-listed Emirates REIT, currently manages three schools – Jebel Ali School, British Columbia Canadian School, and Gems World Academy.

The company has roped in Nitin Agarwal as the chief executive officer for the Indian market. Agarwal brings to the table the extensive 18 years expertise in banking and real estate, used to lead Mumbai-based corporate finance practice, ICPL, which focused on real estate and mezzanine finance.

Abdul Wahab Al-Halabi, chief investment officer, Equitativa Group said, “We continue to believe in the strategic importance of the education sector in the development of any country. India, given its demographics, has a huge potential in the education sector and we hope to enter this market by acquiring schools to launch our first REIT here.”

“Nearly $50 billion is expected to be invested in the Indian education sector over the next 10 years, which the firm believes is a huge opportunity. We are already owning a few schools in Dubai and our experience is that the education sector has sparked the interest of many real estate investors. We have seen a similar interest in Indian as well as global investors for the sector here,” he added.

Al-Halabi said, “The company will also be exploring opportunities in the logistics and warehousing real estate sector. It is one of the biggest growth areas that has emerged in recent times especially after the implementation of various reforms as well as the rapid growth of e-commerce.”

Equitativa is currently the largest REIT manager in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with about $2 billion of assets under management, the company said.

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