Alternative Investment

Certus Capital plans to launch first real estate AIF

BENGALURU : Real estate focused-advisory and investment firm Certus Capital plans to launch its first category-II alternative investment fund or AIF early next year.

The real estate fund will be credit-focused and look at an initial corpus of 500 crore.

The fund may be called Certus India Opportunities Fund and it will be managed by Certus Investment Management Pvt. Ltd.

“We will explore launching an AIF II in December-January. Though we got the Sebi license for the category-II AIF in 2020, we decided not to use it in 2021,” said Ashish Khandelia, founder of Certus Capital and Earnnest.me. Khandelia is a former director at US private equity firm KKR.

The launch of the fund is being planned at a time when housing sales continue to see good momentum, though home loan rates and property prices are moving up.

Separately, Earnnest.me, a digital neo-financing platform of Certus Capital, has invested 40 crore in Pune-based developer Pharande Spaces’ mid-market residential project, which is in an advanced stage of construction. The 400,000 sq ft project is located in the city’s Pimpri-Chinchwad area.

The Pharande Spaces transaction is a part of Certus Capital’s strategy to deploy about 500 crore in 2022-23 as senior secured real estate credit through Earnnest.me. Khandelia said it is also exploring other transactions and aims to close at least two more deals next quarter. These will spread across Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and the National Capital Region.

Earnnest.me recently invested 40 crore in Chennai-based Arun Excello’s portfolio of four affordable housing projects.

“The residential sector overall is doing very well. Access to capital for topline developers is easy, and for the middle-order developers, it is starting to get easier. A limited number of NBFCs are getting active, but it’s still a long way to go,” Khandelia said.

A diverse set of investors including bankers, financial services professionals, lawyers and high-net worth investors took part in the Chennai venture through Earnnest.me.

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