A day after the Godrej family appointed advisors to help untangle its land holdings in Mumbai, the $4.5-billion group said it was working on long-term options to settle the matter.
In a joint statement issued on Thursday, Godrej group Chairman Adi Godrej and Godrej & Boyce Chairman Jamshyd Godrej said they had sought advice from external advisors to help them think through these options.
“We have been working on a long-term strategy plan for the group for several years. As part of this exercise, we have sought advice from external partners,” the statement said.
While Jamshyd Godrej has hired veteran investment banker Nimesh Kampani of JM Financial and lawyer Zia Mody of AZB Partners to help in the reorganisation of the land holdings, cousins Adi and Nadir (chairman, Godrej Agrovet) have hired banker Uday Kotak and Cyril Shroff of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas to assist in the exercise.
At the heart of the disagreement is a 1,000-acre land parcel, part of the 3,400 acres owned by the family in Vikhroli, a northeastern suburb of Mumbai.
This land parcel can be developed into real estate worth up to Rs 1,00,000 crore — taking into account the per square feet price in Godrej’s Vikhroli complex.
The land parcel was acquired by the Godrej family in early 1940s from the Bombay High Court receiver.
It was originally given by the East India Company to a Parsi merchant, Framjee Banaji, in 1830s and came up for sale in 1941-42.
The Godrej family then bought the adjoining land from nearby landowners. It is now owned by unlisted Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company.
In 2011, the group’s listed real estate arm Godrej Properties had entered into an agreement with Godrej & Boyce to develop the land. The first project under the agreement was Godrej Platinum, a high-end residential project with 600,000 square feet for sale.
The project was part of the ongoing 35-acre mixed-use development, The Trees, at Vikhroli. The central mixed-use precinct, spread over 9.2 acres, will have a five-star luxury hotel, cultural buildings, luxury residential, and a high street retail park.
The family may rework this agreement to settle the dispute and the process may take time, it is learnt.