Our world is in turmoil. The mindless war in Ukraine continues. The number of Covid cases across the world has gone up to 650 million with 1% mortality. In other words, about 6.5 million deaths. The numbers are going up in the United States and more particularly in China – thebirthplace of the Wuhan virus.
With inflation levels inchingtowards double digits in Europe and parts of America, talk of recession in the western world is gaining momentum. Our country, by and large, seems to be insulated. The question is for how long will we be insulated in this globalised world. Only time will tell. Despite what is going on around us, Indian stock indices have reached an all-time high! It is an enigma. There is money with the Indian public with few options to invest. Unfortunately, big investments in the industrial sector are not happening to the desired extent to match the government’s expectations. Probably, Indian businessmen feel the risk factors are high based on macro indicators with impending elections in many States during 2023, and the Parliamentary elections in 2024, which is not far away. To reduce inflationary effects, Central Banks across the world, led by the US Federal Reserve, have increased the base interest rates significantly. The Reserve Bank of India has followed suit. The full effect of increased interest rates is yet to be felt by the business community. However, it is bound to hit profit-ability across sectors and the risk factors of higher borrowing will only increase.
In such a scenario, the Indian real estate sector is holding the fort and has shown a lot of resilience. The residential sector continues to do well. Business in retail malls and multiplexes is at an all-time high. Hotel occupancies and ADRs have also bounced back and have exceeded pre-COVID levels in many cases. The only area of concern is office leasing business, where companies in the IT sector are showing cautious approach and postponing major decisions. Employment generation is a key factor for the health of real estate business. However, Indian companies in the software sector and GCCs (Global Capability Centres) expect higher offshoring over time to ensure companies profitability is maintained in their home countries.
Having received all approvals for our residential projects – Brigade Valencia on Hosur Road and Brigade Calista on Budigere Road, the team is geared up to launch both large sized projects in the new year. Response to our maiden large plotted development project – Brigade Oasis on Devanahalli to Doddaballapur Road is very encouraging, having sold the 1st phase in a short period.
Succession in leadership is a necessity at various levels in any organisation. The time has come for me to take a step back from day-to-day routine activities. Having crossed 67 years in age, our Board of Directors have decided to elevateExecutive Directors Pavitra and Nirupa to Managing Director and Joint Managing Director, respectively. They are both eminently qualified with MBA degrees from Ivy League colleges – Columbia Business School and Cornell Business School, and each with more than 15 years’ work experience. They are both young, energetic, full of ideas and ready to work hard. I will continue as Executive Chairman.
I am happy and proud that FKCCI (Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry) conferred on me the ‘Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya Memorial Award 2022’ on his birth anniversary, September 15, which is also celebrated in his honour as ‘Engineers Day’, across the country. It is in recognition of my services and contribution in the construction and building sector, as well as in the fields of education, health, community development, social and philanthropic work. I dedicate this recognition to all in Brigade Group. Without the support of Brigadiers, it was impossible to achieve, whatever has been achieved.
Lastly, I wish all the Brigade stake-holders season’s greetings, and the very best during the New Year 2023. We need a Santa Claus for the business sector also.
—Jaishankar CMD, Brigade.
This issue is coming after a gap of one year. The April issue could not be released due to the 2nd wave of the pandemic and the connected lockdown.
People’s perceptions and attitudes toward life and work have changed a lot over the last 17 months. People and businesses who were able to adapt to the fast changes encountered, have flourished. Those who could not, have unfortunately perished.The impact of the 2nd wave was quite severe on the personal lives of millions of Indians. More than 32 million people contracted the Wuhan Virus and unfortunately, 430 thousand people have died in our country. Worldwide figures: 207 million affected & nearly 4.4 million people have passed away.
The numbers are only growing by the day, even though multiple vaccines are available. For 7,800 million people to be vaccinated twice, it can take another year or two. Luckily, more than 500 million Indians have been administered at least one dose of the vaccine. As a result, if there is a third wave of the virus, the impact is likely to be less severe than the earlier 2 waves. Only time will tell. But, as individuals, one needs to strictly follow all precautions as recommended by the health authorities for their own good.
During these uncertain times, Brigade was able to sail through the troubled waters reasonably well. While our Hospitality and Retail segments were badly affected, the Residential real estate business performed remarkably well by posting the highest sales since the inception of the Group in October 1986. Office leasing sentiments are also affected quite a bit, although the Indian software sector has had exceptional times due to their sheer resilience and ability to keep up their commitments to clients.
The concept of life and work has also undergone tremendous change. Work From Home (WFH) in the financial and technology sectors is a shining example of success, wherever remote working is possible. E-commerce has made life convenient to the technologically savvy population. It has already revolutionised the retail shopping sector. It will have a big impact in the years ahead on the traditional ‘Kirana’ stores and even Shopping Malls.Lockdowns to contain COVID-19 have reinforced the importance of owning a ‘roof over one’s head’, that too a comfortable, spacious one. With reduced expenditure & increased personal savings due to lockdowns, and real estate developers coming up with attractive price & payment schemes, the affordability factor has increased at all levels, resulting in improved demand for housing. This has been the saving grace for developers.Even with all the challenges faced during the last 17 months, we have been able to complete 15 projects with an area of 12.40 million square feet, including our marquee project, World Trade Center (WTC) Chennai. During the same period, we launched 14 projects with an area of 11.30 million square feet including Brigade Citadel in Hyderabad, and Brigade Residences at WTC Chennai.
A feather in the cap is the recognition by the international body, Great Place to Work Institute in association with the Economic Times, for the 11th year in a row - placing Brigade amongst the Top 100 Best Places to Work in the Country - the only real estate developer in the country to receive such an honour. Despite inadequate support to business and industry by the Central & State Government, the Indian Corporate Sector has shown a lot of resilience, thereby presumably, helping wipe out the 7.5% negative GDP of 2020. Good monsoon across the country, in general, has played its part. But the concerns of MSME sectors and small businesses remain. This means by the end of March 2022, India’s financial position may get back to March 2020 status. With the loss of 2 valuable years of growth, it would be a miracle of sorts if our country can reach the targeted GDP of 5 trillion USD by 2024-25. Reaching the USD 5-7 trillion mark is essential for the country. This will ensure that per capita income goes up to USD 4-5k from the present USD 2k. Only when the per capita income goes beyond USD 4-5k, can the MIG population hope to have good disposable income, which in turn will give a boost for the next stage of growth. This would be very similar to what happened in China over the last 20 years. The Central Government has taken up several structural reforms during the past couple of years to help the Indian industry grow and at the same time supporting the farmers and the poorer sections of the society. One hopes these structural reforms will start yielding results soon. Stock indices of BSE & NSE have gone through the roof on this expectation. FII & SIP fund inflows have added fuel to the fire.
With this hope, as we enter the 75th year of Independence, we can expect ‘Tomorrow to be brighter than Today’.
Wishing our readers good health and safety.
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