Sobha Group becomes partner in Indian property venture



The developer Sobha has become a stakeholder in a new investment management business set up to fund large-scale property projects in India.

Sobha’s founder, PNC Menon, has also become a director of RootCorp, a company set up alongside the Indian finance house Nichani Group and property consultancy Savills.

It aims to take advantage of recent market liberalisation in India, allowing investment in large-scale property projects by funds, and is targeting institutional investors from the Middle East and Europe.

Its first fund, the India Debt and Yield Opportunities Fund, will invest stakes of up to 30 per cent in certain projects, and is aiming for returns on investment of 20 per cent.

This will be followed by future funds focusing on the Middle East property sector and renewable energy projects.

RootCorp said that the Indian property market is set to grow in size seven-fold by 2028.

Sobha Group was started as a painting and decorating contractor in Oman in 1976 and is now a multibillion dirham property development and construction group with projects across the GCC and India.

Mr Menon has a net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes.

Sobha is currently building the $4bn Sobha Hartland scheme in Dubai and is a joint venture partner with Meydan Developers in the Mohammed bin Rashid District One project.

Mr Menon said: “Sobha delivers 7 million square feet of property each year in India alone, and we are developing property in excess of $14bn in Dubai. We have the very best land buyers and construction teams in the world and now we are going to increase our activity.”

mfahy@thenational.ae

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It’ll be summer in the city as car show tries to move with the times

If 2008 was the year that rocked Detroit, 2019 will be when Motor City gives its annual car extravaganza a revamp that aims to move with the times.

A major change is that this week's North American International Auto Show will be the last to be held in January, after which the event will switch to June.

The new date, organisers said, will allow exhibitors to move vehicles and activities outside the Cobo Center's halls and into other city venues, unencumbered by cold January weather, exemplified this week by snow and ice.

In a market in which trends can easily be outpaced beyond one event, the need to do so was probably exacerbated by the decision of Germany's big three carmakers – BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi – to skip the auto show this year.

The show has long allowed car enthusiasts to sit behind the wheel of the latest models at the start of the calendar year but a more fluid car market in an online world has made sales less seasonal.

Similarly, everyday technology seems to be catching up on those whose job it is to get behind microphones and try and tempt the visiting public into making a purchase.

Although sparkly announcers clasp iPads and outline the technical gadgetry hidden beneath bonnets, people's obsession with their own smartphones often appeared to offer a more tempting distraction.

“It's maddening,” said one such worker at Nissan's stand.

The absence of some pizzazz, as well as top marques, was also noted by patrons.

“It looks like there are a few less cars this year,” one annual attendee said of this year's exhibitors.

“I can't help but think it's easier to stay at home than to brave the snow and come here.”

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The most expensive investment mistake you will ever make

When is the best time to start saving in a pension? The answer is simple – at the earliest possible moment. The first pound, euro, dollar or dirham you invest is the most valuable, as it has so much longer to grow in value. If you start in your twenties, it could be invested for 40 years or more, which means you have decades for compound interest to work its magic.

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This table shows how much you would have in your pension at age 65, depending on when you start and how much you pay in (it assumes your investments grow 7 per cent a year after charges and you have no other savings).

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Multitasking pays off for money goals

Tackling money goals one at a time cost financial literacy expert Barbara O'Neill at least $1 million.

That's how much Ms O'Neill, a distinguished professor at Rutgers University in the US, figures she lost by starting saving for retirement only after she had created an emergency fund, bought a car with cash and purchased a home.

"I tell students that eventually, 30 years later, I hit the million-dollar mark, but I could've had $2 million," Ms O'Neill says.

Too often, financial experts say, people want to attack their money goals one at a time: "As soon as I pay off my credit card debt, then I'll start saving for a home," or, "As soon as I pay off my student loan debt, then I'll start saving for retirement"."

People do not realise how costly the words "as soon as" can be. Paying off debt is a worthy goal, but it should not come at the expense of other goals, particularly saving for retirement. The sooner money is contributed, the longer it can benefit from compounded returns. Compounded returns are when your investment gains earn their own gains, which can dramatically increase your balances over time.

"By putting off saving for the future, you are really inhibiting yourself from benefiting from that wonderful magic," says Kimberly Zimmerman Rand , an accredited financial counsellor and principal at Dragonfly Financial Solutions in Boston. "If you can start saving today ... you are going to have a lot more five years from now than if you decide to pay off debt for three years and start saving in year four."


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