India’s ASK Property Close to Raising $192M

India’s ASK Property Investment Advisors is close to raising 10 billion rupees ($192 million) for a new investment fund, Reuters reported Tuesday. The fund would focus on property projects in five Indian cities, Reuters wrote. ASK has fully invested the first fund, which raised 3.4 billion rupees in 2009.

(Reuters) – India’s ASK Property Investment Advisors is close to raising 10 billion rupees ($192 million) for a fund that will invest in property projects in five Indian cities, Chief Executive Amit Bhagat said.

The fund, which is open only to Indian investors, is the company’s second. ASK has fully invested the first fund, which raised 3.4 billion rupees in 2009.

The company raised 5 billion rupees for the current fund in June last year.

“It is a good time to have cash ready to deploy as you will get quality assets at better valuations,” Bhagat said in an interview on Tuesday.

“We have already started investing (from the second fund). We are already in discussion with developers for project level investment,” he said.

The fund, which will focus on residential assets in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi, will close in the current quarter, he said.

Private-equity investment in Indian property increased 14.5 percent to $1.26 billion in 2011 from $1.10 billion in 2010, according to data from industry tracker VCCircle.com.

Higher interest rates and a weak stock market have forced developers to seek other sources of funds.

The Indian benchmark stock index fell 24.6 percent in 2011 while the Reserve Bank of India has raised interest rates 13 times since March 2010 to try to rein in inflation.

Last week, sources told Reuters that Red Fort Capital, another India-focused property fund, was set to raise $500 million.

($1=52.24 rupees) (Reporting by Indulal PM and Rajesh Kurup; Editing by Ted Kerr)