Leading with confidence and conviction
I thank all our stakeholders who have contributed to our resilientperformance in a challenging year.
As your Chairman I am very pleased to present this annual report toyou. In the two years since Embassy REIT's listing in April 2019 we have paid out morethan H3700 crores in distributions and delivered 24% in total returns to Unitholders .Embassy REIT has been a trailblazer and our performance has helped other Indian REITs tolist; since our IPO in April 2019 ~US$2.6 billion or H19000 crores of REIT equitycapital has been raised. This new capital formation underscores India's potential as avibrant REIT market and it bodes well for the future of commercial real estate in thecountry.
It is a reality that as a publicly listed entity Embassy REIT hasoperated under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic for a longer period than it has out ofthat shadow. Even then our business has proven resilient.
For the financial year ended March 31 2021; we collected nearly 100%of our office rents; we leased 1.2 million square feet across our core markets; weacquired accretive growth in the form of a world-class business park in one of Bengaluru'sbest-performing submarkets; and we were able to considerably reduce the cost of debt weuse to grow our business.
Most importantly our front line team has been relentless in itsefforts to ensure the safety of all those who work in our offices while across the boardour team
members have delivered this strong performance for the financial year.We owe a debt of gratitude to them and to our many stakeholders.
I thank our Unitholders for believing in our business. From the globaland domestic institutional holders who continue to be the largest holders of the EmbassyREIT units to the growing number of retail holders who rely on our distributions wecontinue to operate a best-in-class business so that our Unitholders can receive theperiodic distributions and enjoy the capital appreciation that comes with owning abest-in-class office REIT.
I thank our regulators and our government stakeholders for unlockingthe potential of the REIT structure in a nascent market like India. In the last year theregulators have initiated numerous measures that have facilitated smoother financingroutes for REITs such as allowing classes of investors like Foreign Portfolio Investors(FPIs) and Insurers to invest in the debt issued by REITs. These measures are criticalmilestones in the evolution of the REIT capital markets and they immeasurably enhance theglobal credibility of the structure.
I thank our occupiers for their unwavering support and cooperation aswe consistently delivered our business continuity plan throughout the pandemic.
The bedrock of our business is the trust our occupiers place in ourworkspaces as productive environments for their employees. For the Indian employee officeparks will continue to be the venue for building company culture collaboration trainingand teamwork. Global companies will continue to hire and rely on the young and skilledtechnology-focused talent pool that exists in India. This demand will only grow as theglobal technological landscape becomes more sophisticated at a faster pace.
I thank our Board of Directors for their guidance during thischallenging time. The Board's counsel has been invaluable to us as we have deliveredquarter after quarter of solid performance in a difficult environment.
And finally I thank the management team at Embassy REIT for creating ahigh-quality business for the long term. Amidst this volatility and the responsibility ofconstantly delivering information and reporting quarterly performance metrics the teamhas built an enduring franchise that can withstand major dislocations while serving as thecornerstone of the office market in India for years to come. Let me explain why.
First the conviction theme that we have in the Indian office remainsas strong as it was when I started the Embassy commercial office business back in theearly 2000s.
The Indian office environment has always relied on the business parkmodel compared to the urban standalone building models that define the office landscape ofcities like New York London Tokyo and Hong Kong. Occupiers are already telling us thatonce the pandemic subsides in India they will need to bring employees back to the officelonger term for all the benefits that the office environment provides.
Second we are witnessing a marked shift towards ESG as a leadingindicator for how we operate our business and how our stakeholders expect us to operateour business. We are defining our three-year ESG strategy to build further on our stronglegacy and past ESG accomplishments. For many years Embassy Group and now Embassy REIThave been at the forefront of ensuring that each component in ESG gets appropriateattention. For example under Environmental initiatives the REIT has owned and operated a100 MW solar park which supplies
energy across our Bengaluru office parks for the past two years. In ourwork in the community Social and Sustainable space we have partnered with our occupiersto transform upgrade and build new schools that benefit over 2800 students adding tothe work done previously to bring education and health to over 165 Government and RuralSchools across Bengaluru Noida Pune Mumbai Chennai Hosur and Thiruvananthapuram. Andin terms of Governance there could have been no REIT listing without the exceptionalgovernance standards our regulators created for the REIT structure. We live by thosestandards every day.
Embassy REIT is a vehicle that is primed for growth. Even in the midstof the pandemic the team saw an opportunity to widen our business moat and exercised theoption to purchase Embassy TechVillage Bengaluru which is arguably one of India'sbest business parks. The REIT was able to finance this acquisition by issuing equity via aplacement India's first REIT equity placement and by issuing debt at attractiverates. The financing speaks to how investors view the REIT as both a growth vehicle andsafe credit. In addition to the on-campus development that the REIT possesses we willcontinue to have opportunities to grow via accretive acquisitions finance theseacquisitions efficiently and most importantly deliver value to our Unitholders .
On behalf of all of us thank you once again for your continuedengagement with Embassy REIT.
From all of us at Embassy REIT to all of you please stay safe.