Infosys co-founder N S Raghavan’s hotel venture Nadathur eyes 100 properties across Asia-Pacific
MUMBAI: Nadathur Holdings, the private investment firm of N S Raghavan, the first among Infosys co-founders to chart an independent course, has found allies in Australian pension funds to rev up its hospitality business quietly gathering steam. Singapore-based SilverNeedle Hospitality (SNH) has struck deals with Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) and Challenger -the two large superannuation fund managers Down Under -lifting its ambitions to build a hotel chain of 100 properties in Asia-Pacific by the end of this decade.
SNH, which operates around 50 hotels currently , plans to double footprint in the next 4-5 years which include expansion into India, the company’s chairman and chief executive, Anand Nadathur, the younger scion of the Nadathur family , told TOI in a rare interview . “Having 100 properties is a milestone we are loo king at. This is not a hard target.But we are in conversation with several global investors who could partner with us as we enter markets like India,” he said.
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SNH is the largest operating business of below-the-radar Nadathur Holdings, which mana ges about $1billion in assets. It is the owner, investor and operator of an existing room inventory topping 4,000 keys across Australia, New Zealand, Laos, Thailand and under-development projects in Sri Lanka. These include greenfield, acquisitions, joint ventures, leasing deals and management contracts. Australia accounts for almost 90% of its hotel network, with mid-scale to luxury brands Link, Sage, Next and SilverNeedle Collection.
Two weeks ago, SNH struck a deal with QIC, managing $75 billion in pension assets, for $110 million Next hotel in Melbourne. Negotiations for two more deals -involving operational hotels in Melbourne and Canberra -are advanced but not sealed.This follows SNH’s sale and lease back deal with Challenger, managing retirement funds worth $57 billion, for a trendy, high-rise Next in Brisbane.
Nadathur Jr said these partnerships are validation for SNH operating model in one of the most mature hospitality markets in the world. “We are combining the Asian service quality with Australian efficiency . We would love to partner these large Australian investors in other markets, though we haven’t had specific conversations on the matter,” he added. Challenger had prospected Indian investment opportunities in the past, though rival Macquarie has been more aggressive on this front.
SNH is prospecting investment opportunities to turnaround existing hotel assets in India, the most likely route it would pursue in the country .