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Editorial

Top 10 Companies, People and Services You Need to Know in Order to Invest
Wisely and Safely in India

I have received many requests for information regarding key people or companies that
will help foreigners and locals invest in India. I have compiled my own list to better help
your investment goals. By way of disclosure, none of these companies or people has
compensated The India Street in any way.

1. India Title Insurance:


Despite what you may read, there are companies offering title insurance in India. To
be clear, the companies offering the title insurance for real estate in India are simply
hiring local attorneys to do the research and due diligence investors are doing now.
However, the rates are reasonable and the title insurers are experts at determining
clear title and finding red flags which the investor may miss.

Contacts:
LandAmerica International Services
Phone: +1-212-220-7002
matkins@landam.com
140 East 45th Street, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
www.landam.com/international

First American Title Insurance Company


National Commercial Services
633 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017
www.firstam.com/ncs | NYSE:FAF
Tel: 212.850.0618
Fax: 212.331.1476
Email: tgarelli@firstam.com

2. Attorneys
While attorneys are a necessary evil in India and throughout the world, there are some
legal professionals that add value beyond legal advice. We recommend you find an
attorney in India that is knowledgeable about Real Estate, has many local
connections, and will refer you to leading industry practitioners. In effect, a business
partner.

Kusuma Advocates
+91 (0) 80 222 66383
No. 101 "Eden Park"
Opposite Prestige UB City
20 Vittal Mallya Road
Bangalore 560001 India
Ronald G. Weitz
Partner
Tel: 1.214.969.2988
Fax: 1.214.969.5100
E-mail: ronaldgweitz@jonesday.com
2727 North Harwood Street
Dallas, Texas 75201-1515

Andrews Kurth LLP


1701 Pennsylvania Av, NW, #300
Washington, DC 20006
+1(202) 662-2756

3. Real Estate Brokers and Advisory Firms


As with attorneys, brokers are usually necessary to complete a transaction whether
they represent the seller or buyer side. The best deals are found prior to a broker
taking the listing, but there are the rare brokers that will provide “tips” to investors in
order to secure a pre-listing deal. You will not simply call a broker and expect decent
leads, you will have to put the energy in to establish rapport. Remember, these
brokers are inundated with requests and try only to work with seasoned professionals
or those with promise.

Ram T. Chandnani
CB Richard Ellis South Asia Pvt.Ltd |
Head South India Operations
3rd Floor, The Hulkul 81/37 Lavelle Road
Bangalore 560001, India T 91 80 4112 1240
ram.chandnani@cbre.com | www.cbreindia

Anuj Bindal
Manager – Global Corporate Services
DTZ
# 2A Paharpur Software Technology Park | 21 Nehru Place
New Delhi 110 019, INDIA
T +91 11 2620 7108

Mr Karun Varma
Associate Director
karun.varma@ap.jll.com
Mobile : +91 98866 05001

4. India Business Associations


The best India businesses associations allow members to network with one another in
a professional environment. They are also committed to affect real and positive
change in the relationship between India and the rest of the world. One of the best
organizations is the USIBC which is partly responsible for the US/India civilian
nuclear exchange program, Indian mangoes exported to the US, and Harley
Davidson’s new foray in India.

Ron Somers
President
United States India Business Council (USIBC)
1615 H Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20062-200
rsomers@uschamber.com
http://www.usibc.com

5. Cheap Phone calls while in India


Never use a US based cell phone in India. All of the US based mobile phone service
providers seem to have international price immunity because they can charge 2 rupees
($.05) a minute in the US while charging 120 rupees ($3.00) a minute in India. I have
seen bills reach $1700 by way of using the mobile in India which would have cost
$20 in the US.

Buying a local SIM chip doesn’t seem to help either. SIM Chips vary in affordability
and one has little control over the amount the carrier charges. A good but still not
convenient option is to buy a local calling card. The rates are low, but finding a
decent landline in India outside the hotels is difficult.

The Best option that I have found is Skype. I use a Skype cordless phone with my
laptop so that I can walk around the room/office (up to 100 feet). A little USB
attachment is plugged into the USB port and viola, it works fantastic. The cost of the
Skype service is low ($.02) to the US (free to other Skype users), it’s convenient and
allows one to make calls in any WIFI zone.

6. Good Tax Strategists


Since India is a relatively young country in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
and foreign investors, special care is needed in this area to protect your gains.
Foreign investors can end up paying three times as much in taxes if a carefully
planned tax strategy is not implemented. Most FDI compliant funds use Mauritius as
their exit route given the long history and special tax breaks between the two
countries. However, new routes through Singapore are proving to be easier and safer.

ERNST & YOUNG


Global Tax Advisory Services
Direct Tax
www.ey.com/india
+91-44-2431-1440

Yogesh Singla
Tata Consultancy Services
Mailto: yogesh.singla@tcs.com
cell: +91 9821360677
Website: http://www.tcs.com

7. Auditors and Risk Management

Today’s leading internal audit organizations are no longer limited to hazard avoidance
and compliance. They need to demonstrate their knowledge of risk management and
business process improvement in India, which is a characteristic of a consultant rather
than a classical internal auditor. Furthermore, the better internal auditors provide value
added support to managements across all areas of investment and real estate operations.
While the fees are high, the value in risk mitigation is extremely high.

Satyavati Berera Tel:+91 (11) 41350503


Leader- Internal Audit Services
11 A Vishnu Dighambar Marg
New Delhi –110 002
Telephone [91] (11) 2323-2916/2321-0891-99/ 41150000
Fax: [91] (11) 2321-0594/96

8. Investor Friendly Banks


A bank that understands how India works, is willing to make large loans and has the
contacts to help their borrowers achieve financial success in India is crucial. We have
highlighted two below that we have found to be investor friendly and eager to help
finance real estate deals. As with the real estate advisors above, it’s important to forge a
good relationship with the local executives.

Business Today and Euromoney’s 2006 “best bank”, HDFC has been growing at about
30% a year and has a 29 year track record of working with developers. Forbes has also
listed them as one of Asia’s Best 50 companies.

Abhay Aima, Head - Equities and Private Banking


HDFC Bank House Senapati Bapat Marg Lower Parel
Mumbai, 400 013 India
IND +1-212-8822888 (Phone)
http://www.hdfcbank.com

Most people do not realize how long Citibank (CitiGroup) has been in India (103 years).
I can not explain the longevity of an American company in British India then Socialist
India, but if they have been able to last over a century through India’s trial and
tribulations, they must have either been masochists or extremely adaptable. I tend to
believe the latter and recommend you work with Citibank.

Rohini Malkani
+91-22- 6631-9876
rohini.malkani@citigroup.com
Bakhtawar, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400-021.

9. Quality Developers/Construction Companies


I can relate many stories about foreign investors being burned in India. What is not
typically known is the amount of unethical behavior by developers and construction
companies as it relates to Multi National Corporation (MNC) tenants. For example,
large deposits are taken by developers when a tenant signs on for a commercial lease.
That deposit guarantees the contract between developer and tenant.

What we have found and you need to avoid, are developers that do not follow contracts
and worse hold the tenant in limbo (by stopping work or tenant improvements) until the
tenant agrees to the developer’s new (and thus more lucrative for the developer) terms.
We have also seen developers finish the work but not obtain a building occupancy permit.
With out an occupancy permit, the tenant cannot legally move in. As one MNC tenant
related to The India Street, “the developer held us hostage until we paid them an extra fee
for ‘services’ related to construction.”

Turn to organizations like CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developer's


Associations of India) that promote ethical codes. They will also provide their member
track records which will allow you greater visibility into your due diligence.

Pradip kumar Chopra


Executive Board-CREDAI
Tel +91 033)24757896/6406
chopra_pradip@yahoo.com
www.credai.com

Also, look for foreign developers like Ascendas (Singapore) and The WIRE Group
(Singapore and The United States) who are used to operating in transparent
environments. They also are more likely to produce a quality product as they have built
some true International Class A buildings both outside and inside India.

10. Mezzanine Debt Providers


Because of the current high interest rate environment in India, Mezzanine debt has
never been more important to further leverage your funds to achieve higher returns.
While relatively new in India, the use of mezzanine debt can sometimes attract
domestic financing to your projects.

Asia Mezzanine Capital Advisers Limited (sponsored by the Prudential Capital Insurance
Company)
Alexandra House
12 th Floor
16-20 Chater Road
Hong Kong, SAR, China
Telephone: 852-3104-2570
Fax: 852-3104-2915
E-mail: joseph.ferrigno@asiamezzanine.com

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