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«Nitesh Estates Ltd IPO Grading Rationale Nitesh Estates Ltd CRISIL IPO Grade 2/5 (Below Average) February 25, 2010 IPO Grade CRISIL IPO Grade ...»

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(One-time assessment) Nitesh Estates Ltd IPO Grading Rationale

Nitesh Estates Ltd

CRISIL IPO Grade 2/5 (Below Average)

February 25, 2010

IPO Grade

CRISIL IPO Grade ‘2/5’: This grade indicates that the fundamentals of the issue are below average relative to

other listed equity securities in India. However, this grade is not an opinion on whether the issue price is appropriate

to the issue’s fundamentals.

Issue Details Shares offered to public Not available at the time of grading As per cent of post issue equity Not available at the time of grading Funding for joint development rights, construction and development Object of the issue plans, investment in the hospitality venture, and repayment of debt and general corporate expenses Amount proposed to be raised Rs 4,500 million + greenshoe option of Rs 450 million Price band Not available at the time of grading ICICI Securities Ltd, Enam Securities Pvt Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Capital Lead managers Co Ltd, JM Financial Consultants Pvt Ltd Company Background Nitesh Estates Ltd (NEL) is a Bengaluru-based real estate development company. The company was incorporated as Nitesh Estates Pvt Ltd on February 20, 2004, and became a public limited company on November 3, 2009. NEL primarily follows a joint development model. Since 2004, the company has developed three housing projects in the high-end luxury market, totaling 0.55 mn sq ft of saleable area. Recently, NEL has ventured into the mid-income housing, retail and commercial segments, and has invested in a hotel project.

Proposed use of the issue proceeds Proposed use of the issue proceeds Nature of use (Rs million) Acquire joint development rights (residential) JD rights 210 Finance ongoing project - Nitesh Columbus Square (residential) Construction 884 Finance the acquisition of joint development rights - Nitesh Indiranagar Mall JD rights 695 Investment in Nitesh Residency - construction of the Ritz Carlton hotel Investment 460 Redemption of debentures Debt repayment 500 Repay loan taken from Udhay GK Realty (loan for Nitesh Indiranagar Mall) Debt repayment 500 Repayment

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Grading Highlights Business prospects NEL is a Bengaluru-based real estate company. The company developed two luxury residential projects in 2007, thereafter earning a major share of its revenues from the contractual work carried out for a residential project developed for ITC Ltd, and work undertaken for group companies. The contractual work has been a low-margin business. Going forward, however, real estate development is expected to comprise a larger portion of the revenues.

The Nitesh Group, which has built a brand name in the niche high-end luxury housing market, has recently ventured into the acutely competitive mid-segment housing. With limited past experience, and presence of large established players in the Bengaluru real estate market, CRISIL Research expects NEL to face significant challenges in their proposed foray.

NEL has also diversified into capital-intensive hospitality, commercial and retail development, areas in which it has either no experience or limited experience.

Till date, NEL has developed only three residential projects, totaling 0.55 mn sq ft of saleable area, whereas, over the next 5 years, the company has aggressive plans of developing residential projects of

11.74 mn sq ft of saleable area (of which NEL’s share is 62 per cent) and commercial projects of 3.1 mn sq ft of saleable area (NEL’s share is 65 per cent).

NEL has a 20.7 per cent stake in a five-star hotel project at Residency Road, a prime location in Bengaluru. Till the project becomes operational, the company will earn low-margin contractual income and will earn adequate returns only when the hotel becomes profitable, post commissioning.

Concentration of development in Bengaluru exposes NEL to the risk of downturns in the city’s real estate market and the IT industry. However, over the long term, NEL plans to diversify its geographical presence, and has projects planned in Kochi, Goa and Chennai.

Financial performance In the past, NEL’s revenues came from the sale of developed properties and contractual income from projects developed for ITC and the Ritz Carlton hotel. Its 2008-09 revenues of Rs 0.88 billion comprised Rs 0.55 billion (63 per cent of revenue) from contractual activities, Rs 0.27 billion (31 per cent of revenue) from the sale of land development rights and Rs 0.06 billion (6 per cent of revenue) from the sale of developed properties. In the first half of 2009-10, NEL earned revenues of Rs 0.26 billion.

The company’s operating (OPBDIT) and net margins in 2008-09 were low at 7.6 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively, due to the low-margin contractual business and high corporate expenses. In the first half of 2009-10, operating margins were negative 19.1 per cent. However, net margin was positive at 11.7 per cent, due to profit from one-time sale of investments of Rs 174 million.

NEL has incurred operating cash losses for the last 3 years. The cash losses have been funded through the raising of debt, which has led to deterioration in gearing from nil as on March 31, 2007 to 2.4 times as on March 31, 2009.

The company had defaulted on its debt and interest payments in 2008-09, which has been later restructured/repaid in consultation with the lenders.





Future revenues and projected growth depend critically on the successful implementation of projects in the pipeline.

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Management capabilities The promoter, Mr Shetty, and his team were able to successfully attract private equity (PE) investments into the company as reflected in the tie-ups established with AMIF I Ltd for investment in NEL, and with HDFC AMC for investment in a subsidiary company.

NEL has also tied up with the Ritz Carlton for a hotel project, with Citigroup picking up a 74 per cent equity stake in the project.

The management’s ability to successfully implement a strategy for the mid-income housing segment, and profitably diversifying into the capital-intensive hospitality or retail space is as yet untested.

There appears to be high degree of dependence on Mr Shetty and the executive director, as assessed from their levels of involvement in the overall strategy, land acquisition, operations, and marketing within NEL. In CRISIL Research’s opinion, such high level of concentration may be a limiting factor in the context of the company’s plans to grow aggressively in new segments and markets.

While NEL’s second-line management has recently been ramped up, experience of some of the personnel in the real estate field is limited.

Corporate governance NEL has relatively experienced independent directors on the board and their ability to exercise management oversight is adequate.

The promoters have a number of group companies, some of which are in the same line of business. The company has stated to CRISIL Research that a formal non-compete agreement will be entered into between NEL and its promoter to remove the potential conflict of interest.

The promoter has also floated several companies in diverse fields like pharmacy, warehousing healthcare, airways etc. Some of them are currently reporting losses and some of the companies are currently not operational. The rationale and strategy for the existence of these companies is unclear and presents no fit or synergy with the company and group’s current area of business.

There have been significant related-party transactions in the past, mainly pertaining to undertaking contractual work for group companies, which has affected the company’s profitability.

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Detailed Grading Rationale Overall grading summary (CRISIL IPO Grade 2/5)

To arrive at the overall grade, CRISIL has considered the following parameters:

Business prospects and financial performance Management capability Corporate governance CRISIL has assigned a CRISIL IPO Grade ‘2/5’ (pronounced ‘two on five’) to the proposed initial public offering (IPO) of Nitesh Estates Ltd. This grade indicates that the fundamentals of the issue are below average relative to other listed equity securities in India. However, this grade is not an opinion on whether the issue price is appropriate in relation to the issue’s fundamentals. The offer price for the issue may be higher or lower than the level justified by its fundamentals. The grade is not a recommendation to buy/sell or hold the graded instrument, its future market price or suitability for a particular investor.

The IPO grade for NEL reflects the company’s entry into the highly competitive mid-income housing segment, and development of retail, commercial and hospitality projects, in which the company has a limited track record. These plans also present significant funding and execution risk. Further, in the past, the management’s strategies have not been very successful, with NEL registering very low margins. The company had also defaulted on its debt and interest payments in 2008-09, which has been subsequently restructured/repaid. In addition, the second-rung management is fairly new and highly dependent on the promoter, Mr. Shetty, and the executive director, Mr L.S. Vaidyanathan. Our grading also takes into account that NEL’s second line of management has limited experience in the real estate sector, a limitation in the context of the company’s large development plans over the next few years.

The grading, however, gets its support from the group’s strong brand name in the high-end luxury housing segment and the presence of experienced independent directors on the board of the company. The promoters have a number of group companies, some of which are in the same line of business. However, the company has stated to CRISIL Research that a formal non-compete agreement will be entered into between NEL and its promoter in order to remove the potential conflict of interest

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Source: Company Past experience in luxury housing; future plans in mid-income housing, commercial and hospitality projects Till date, the Nitesh Group has developed small but high-end luxury housing projects. The group has recently ventured into the competitive mid-income housing segment, with plans to develop the bulk of its projects in this segment. In this segment, the company faces strong competition from Bengaluru-based local players such as Prestige, Sobha Developers, Brigade and Puravankara, amongst others. Further, it has ventured into the development of retail, commercial and hospitality projects, which are areas where the company has a limited track record. These plans also present significant funding and execution risks.

Ambitious development plans would require strengthening management at execution level The management’s ability to successfully implement a strategy for the mid-income home buyer segment and diversify into the capital-intensive hospitality or retail space is as yet untested.

Further, NEL’s second-line management has recently been ramped up. The management is not only new but some of the personnel (the COO & CFO) have no experience in the real estate field. Also, three of the management personnel, i.e. Mr Ashwini Kumar (COO), Mr Shiva N Iyer (CFO) and Mr NG Srinivasan (head of the corporate finance), have joined the company in the last 6 months. Also, the majority of the other management personnel have been with the company only for the last 1-2 years.

Promoter group companies in the same line of business; significant inter-group transactions The promoter has a number of group companies, some of which are in the same line of business. Nitesh Infrastructure Ltd has built two commercial projects, and Nitesh Estates Projects Pvt Ltd has developed two residential projects with one under construction. Mr Shetty also owns NISCO Ventures Pvt Ltd, which is in the contractual construction business.. However, the company has confirmed to CRISIL Research that there will be a board resolution to execute a formal non-compete agreement to avoid any issues of conflict of interest.

Mr Shetty has also floated a number of companies in diverse lines of businesses such as pharmacy, warehousing, healthcare, airways etc. Some of them are currently reporting losses, while some are currently not operational. The rationale and strategy for the existence of these companies is unclear and presents no fit or synergy with the company and group’s current area of business.

–  –  –

High level of dependence & concentration risk on a few individuals The promoter, Mr. Shetty, is a young, first generation entrepreneur. He, along with L.S. Vaidyanathan (executive director), closely monitors the operations, and provides expertise and direction with respect to overall strategy and vision. They are also actively involved in the brand building, sales & marketing initiatives of NEL. Such concentrated dependence on a few individuals presents a management concentration risk and potential management bandwidth risk for the company in the context of its ambitious growth plans.

Strong brand in the luxury segment and demonstrated ability to attract partners The Nitesh Group has a strong brand in the high-end luxury residential market. Most of the group’s past projects have been small-sized but in prime locations in Bengaluru. Mr Shetty ventured into the real estate business with the development of two commercial projects on MG Road in Bengaluru, and subsequently diversified into the residential, retail and hospitality segments. The promoter, Mr Shetty, and his team have been able to successfully attract various partners into the company which is evidenced by the tie-ups established with AMIF I Ltd for investment in NEL, with HDFC AMC for investment in a subsidiary company and with Ritz Carlton for their first project in India, in which Citigroup has acquired a majority stake.

Financial Profile In the past, NEL earned revenues from the sale of developed properties and contractual income on account of the project developed for ITC and the Ritz Carlton hotel. Of NEL’s 2008-09 revenues of Rs 0.88 billion, Rs 0.55 billion (63 per cent of revenue) was from contractual activities, Rs 0.27 billion (31 per cent of revenue) from the sale of land development rights and Rs 0.06 billion (6 per cent of revenue) from the sale of developed properties. In the first half of 2009-10, NEL earned revenues of Rs 0.26 billion.



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