Mumbai: Nipun Sahni, former managing director and head, India, real estate investment group at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and founder and chief executive officer at Rezone Investment Advisors, has joined US-based Apollo Global Management as partner and head of real estate, India.
Apollo is setting up real estate private equity platforms in Asia with offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Delhi, among other cities. Other team members of Sahni at Rezone have also joined Apollo in India.
Sahni has joined Apollo along with Philip Mintz, founder of Venator real estate private equity, and his China team. Mintz will be heading Apollo's Asia real estate private equity platform.
Apollo has absorbed $500-million assets under management of Venator, which was a China dedicated fund. It has not yet firmed up its new fund raising plans, said Sahni.
"Asia is a growing market for real estate capital. We would like to get our investors to participate in the right strategies in Asia," said Sahni. The funds' primary focus would be investments in China and India.
Besides real estate private equity, Apollo has three other platforms in India for private equity, special situation investing and credit with independent teams.
Sahni had set up Rezone after global investor Blackstone bought Asia real estate portfolio of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML), where he was heading India real estate investment group.
As of March 2015, NYSE-listed Apollo managed over $163 billion of investor commitments across its private equity, credit and real estate funds and other investment vehicles making it one of the largest alternative investment management firms globally.
Apollo's focus on Asia real estate comes at a time when global real estate investors such as US-based Blackstone and Singapore's GIC are aggressively buying commercial assets in countries such as India.
"It is a great time to invest in India and own income yielding assets in office and retail space as valuations are attractive. In 12-18 months, markets will pick up due to government initiatives such as Make in India," said Shishir Baijal, chairman at property consultant Knight Frank India.