Mumbai: In an exclusive interaction with Mint, Ming Mei, co-founder and CEO of alternate asset management firm GLP, and Sameer Sain, co-founder and CEO of Everstone Group, share their plans for the logistics real estate joint venture. GLP is a global provider of modern logistics facilities and technology-led solutions, with $60 billion in assets under management across its real estate and private equity segments. The company’s real estate fund platform is one of the largest in the world, spanning approximately 720 million sq. ft.
What is your plan for the $1.2 billion logistics real estate fund?
Mei: Two separate strategies: First, focus on hard asset real estate and infrastructure. The other one is technology and operating companies that support logistics efficiencies.
Sain: Think of one as real estate, which is $1.2 billion IndoSpace Logistic Parks III fund, and the other is private equity, which is a $500 million commitment between Everstone and GLP for building a logistics ecosystem in India.
Mei: We are committed to building logistical infrastructure throughout India. For me, it goes beyond building spaces and includes automation, robotics and transportation. I believe that technology is getting cheaper to adapt and use. I am excited to start here as we believe that GLP is pretty good at scaling businesses. Logistics will go from a function to a service. It is transforming daily and, when that happens, pricing is no more a function, but becomes a value. The efficiency is getting better six times for the good. We have signed the $500 million deal with Everstone to create a platform to bring technology to India.
Is India a priority market for you?
Mei: In the long-term, China and India make more than half of the world’s GDP. Our vision is that China and India take the top positions in the world. India as a market cannot be ignored given the population and the economic position. I always had a keen interest to be in India. Just like China, India has different challenges in doing business, such as understanding the culture, talent, the people and how to build scalable businesses. It is very important to find the right partner and make good judgement calls, and you must be in India to do that. I found Sameer has similar values and judgement calls like me. We set up our focus on logistical infrastructure and real estate. When we entered into partnership, we thought we can partner for more like building a logistics ecosystem in India and leveraging things we have done over the last few years in China.
How significant will India be in the overall scheme of things for GLP?
Mei: We went to China and started from scratch. We have little over $20 billion there, and $60 billion globally. We can build a similar scale and size in India and it can be $20-30 billion of business in my mind. There is no reason why we cannot be a $100-200 billion business in China. We started after the financial crisis, we went from zero to $10 billion by 2014. From 2014 till today, we are $60 billion. That is six times in the last four years.
In how many years can you do that in India?
Mei: I am confident that the market opportunity is big enough. We have the resources and the experience of the team on the ground. I don’t want to commit a number and be practical about it. First $5 billion may take half the time and the rest $15 billion may take half the time.
Will Everstone be your go-to partner in India?
Mei: Partnership is like marriage. One wife is enough. Our partnership will force us to take decisions and come to an agreement.
Sain: Across the world, GLP holds 100% and is a stand-alone entity. In India, we are JV partners, and are equal partners, and we will collectively explore our partnerships. There is chemistry, alignment, ecosystem and friendship between Everstone and GLP.