Managing Director and CEO of Godrej Properties Mohit Malhotra says there have been plenty of changes to the real estate industry since The CEO Magazine interviewed him in 2017. Economic challenges such as the liquidity crisis due to the NBFC defaults in 2018 slowed consumption and hit India’s banking system hard, also impacting the RE sector dramatically.
Regulatory changes such as the implementation of RERA, GST and the revision to the input credit norms further compounded the impact. “Despite these hurdles, our company has done phenomenally well,” Mohit beams.
Its website states that each Godrej Properties development combines a 123-year old legacy of excellence and trust with a commitment to cutting-edge design and technology.
“Since 2017, we have more than doubled our sales. Overall, we are satisfied with our performance. We were agile in adapting our strategy to respond to changing market and regulatory conditions. Our strategy has evolved from an asset light model to an intensive capital deployment model.”
In 2017, the country saw the government implement a new real estate law – the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 – with hopes of encouraging more significant activity and investment in the sector, leading to a higher supply of housing into the market.
Mohit is pleased with the improvements the industry has seen since then. “It is one of the primary factors driving consolidation in the industry,” he explains.
“The number of developers has come down by almost half over the past five years. It’s made the industry more transparent, a step that I find extremely positive. The inventory supply in the industry is more reliable, with higher certainty of project completion and recourse available to customers in case of delays. This has also catalysed greater focus on operational excellence and fiscal discipline.”
We want to become the most customer-centric organisation and transform Indian real estate as we move forward.
Godrej Properties is one of the top real estate companies in four geographic regions in India: Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. Mohit aims for the company to dominate these geographies through a market leadership strategy.
“One of the most important areas of focus for the organisation is to improve the ROE profile from 10% to 20% in future,” he expounds.
“Focus on modern construction technology is one of the key strategic levers to achieve this. The other is to become the most customer-centric organisation in the industry.”
Booking value growth – how quickly a company is churning its asset base – is one measure by which Godrej determines its success. The other is Net Promoter Score, a globally accepted metric to determine customer satisfaction.
This helps the company gauge how the customers are receiving its product and how likely are they to re-purchase or promote the brand’s product. Another key metric is the addition of new projects to its portfolio.
Mohit’s bio states that he holds a Post Graduate Diploma from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. He started his career in Unilever India and subsequently worked with AT Kearney. He has been working in the real estate industry since 2006 and joined Godrej Properties in 2010 as Head of Business Development and then took an additional role at NCR region, where he led Godrej Properties to become the number one player in the NCR market. Mohit has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth since then and continued to take on key leadership responsibilities, eventually taking over as Managing Director and CEO in 2017.
A robust and strong acquisitions pipeline is a good indicator for long-term growth and profitability for the company’s shareholders. The business has several completed and under construction residential and commercial projects in its portfolio.
Its philosophy of ‘innovation, sustainability and excellence to the real estate industry’, has earned it numerous titles such as the Porter Prize 2019, The Most Trusted Real Estate Brand in the 2019 Brand Trust Report, Builder of the Year at the CNBC-Awaaz Real Estate Awards 2019, The Economic Times Best Real Estate Brand 2018, and Real Estate Company of the Year at the 8th Annual Construction Week India Awards 2018.
Godrej Properties is among the most successful companies in the Indian real estate industry. Mohit attributes this success to running each geography as a business unit, with each location being headed by a business head, similar to a CEO.
“We have given them a significant level of empowerment and decision-making,” he explains. “This has worked well for us, and it’s a key differentiator from other companies as we scale up our organisation.”
The company takes great pride in its people and culture. As it states on the website, “We believe it is the people working at Godrej Properties who allow us to build an outstanding company that is bubbling with talent, dynamism, and inspiration. Godrej Properties was ranked as the number one real estate developer and among the top 50 companies overall for four consecutive years by the Great Place to Work Institute in partnership with The Economic Times.”
Mohit proudly states that Godrej Properties is a people-centric organisation and a place where talent wants to work. “We see this as a long-term competitive advantage for the industry.”
The company focus on what Mohit calls “execution excellence” is another key competitive advantage. “A lot of thoughtful effort goes into designing our projects; we scale projects and execute them on time with high quality,” Mohit explains.
“We enjoy significant competitive advantage in the market, as demonstrated by the rapid growth in our sales figures relative to competition. We have been able increase our market share in a declining market.
“The way we do deals and deploy capital differentiates us because this is a very capital intensive business,” he adds. “Our balance sheet is the healthiest in the industry today.
“We don’t buy land. Essentially all our projects are joint ventures with the landowners or existing developers, and a lot of them are recurring. Many of these relationships happen through references and play an important role in our growth story,” Mohit explains.
“Every landowner is a partner for the company. We realise that for them, a project might be a lifetime’s worth of savings and building a great relationship to us is as important as building great homes.”
Similarly all the consultants associated in developing a project are also looked upon as partners, be it the architects, the PMC or the landscape consultants.
“We are a real estate developer with an outsourced model, hence our relationships with the consultants are very deep and symbiotic,” Mohit says.
“All of our construction is outsourced to the best contractors in the country. We partner with the best architects for our project designs. We rely on the specialists and see these relationships as much more than business relationships.”
Mohit believes that Godrej Properties is on a transformative journey, and its purpose is to bring joy to its customers every day. “We want to become the most customer-centric organisation and transform Indian real estate as we move forward,” he says.
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