Mr. Manoj Rastogi, CEO, Concrete Products Division, SOBHA Limited.

Please brief about the glorious journey of Sobha Ltd.

Mr. PNC Menon founded SOBHA Limited in 1995, and today, it is the most trusted real estate brand in India. With a clear vision to transform the way people perceive quality in real estate, he built SOBHA on the solid bedrock of quality, credibility, and transparency. We are the pioneers of the backward integrated model supported by our operations across interiors, metal and glazing works and concrete products. Our execution capability is our core strength and as of 31st Dec 2020 we have delivered about 111.35 million square feet of developable area. We have been bestowed with more than 170 prestigious awards and these recognitions add a renewed vigour to our journey of setting new benchmarks in quality, customer centricity, engineering, business ethics and transparency.Our reputation as India’s most dependable and trustworthy builder, with a portfolio of award-winning assets, speaks for itself. We have changed the skyline in Bangalore, built iconic projects in Kerala, and expanded our footprint to include Delhi – NCR, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore, Pune, and many more areas. Ourfootprints are spread in 27 cities in 14 states across India. We have shown over the years that there are no shortcuts to quality, consistency and dedication.

What are the challenges for the RE sector in this pandemic?

After the pandemic struck the global economy in 2020, the year has been full of upheavals for the world. The negative impacts are still being felt with the second wave. India’s real estate, one of the most recognized sectors globally and a significant contributor to the Indian economy has also had its share of tremors of the pandemic. The impact has been significant for the entire economy as investment cycles are affected, decision-making processes havebeen impacted too.  However, the country is going through a structural transformation and the demand for housing will continue to rise as Work-From-Home, safety, are important aspects that will stay for years. To strengthen the sector, certain steps like rationalization of the GST rates (by allowing the input tax credit), access to funds having longer repayment cycles, lowering tax on raw materials, and increasing the tax rebates on housing loan interest to at least Rs. 5 Lakhscan be taken by the government. The real estate industry has also come forward to support construction workers with facilities like food, medication, safety, hygienic premises and proper sanitation on sites. This will ensure the safety and well-being of workers.

Please brief us about some of the unique advantages of SOBHA’S concrete products.

SOBHA Limited is one of India’s largest and the only real estate company with a backward integration model, allowing it to produce major construction components in-house, from concrete products to aluminum windows. The concrete products division was set-up around 2005-2006 and has a production capacity of more than 30,000 blocks/day of 8” size or more than 7.2mnsft of paver products per annum. We have world class factories wherein we make concrete solid and hollow blocks, landscaping products like pavers, kerbs, water drainage channels, paving slabs, precast drain covers, precast boundary walls etc. Apart from these products, we also have a well-equipped Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) factory. GFRC is a fiber-reinforced concrete product, for both internal and external usage. GFRC, made of white cement, is one of the best elements for giving building’s interior or exterior a luxurious look and feel. It is suitable for a wide range of projects including residential to institutional and is made up of ready-to-use and easy-to-install elements.

Concrete products like pavers offer a long life, low maintenance and economical alternative to concrete/asphalt roads.  They also have the advantages of speed and flexibility, ground water recharging and low manpower requirements in laying.

Our CPD portfolio includes some well-known companies like Godrej, NVT, Goyal Group, L&T-ECC, Gina Engg. Mfar, Divyashree, ITC, DLF, KNS Group, Prestige, SNN Group, Infosysand many more.

SOBHA aims to use its concrete technology expertise for precast and mortar businesses. SOBHA is working towards introducing environmental-friendly products to replace traditional products using innovative technologies.

Give us your views about the present real estate industry of India and what are your expectations?

Following the government’s announcement of policies and reforms such as RERA and GST, the real estate sector has performed well. While the COVID 19 pandemic and lockdowns have put a pause to the industry’s growth, they also provided many opportunities for society to learn.The real estate industry, the government, and builders, geared to fulfill home buyers’ dreams by announcing schemes and discounts.  Adopting technology was the most crucial step taken by renowned developers to offer safety to consumers while selecting the property from the comfort of their homes. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality played a vital role in home-buying process and prompted those who were undecided so far, to buy a home. The real estate industry is hopeful, thanks to the reduction of stamp duty on property registration, lower interest rates on home loans, the forthcoming festival seasons, and government’s support.

In addition, the vaccine drive that the government has initiated is a great help to continue construction work on sites. Builders are prepared to resolve labour’s needs and assist them in getting vaccinated. This will help incontinuation of the construction work and the sector will recover fast.

The industry is confident in its ability to rebound from the pandemic’s effect on revenue and contribute to the economy’s growth.

Please share with us about your future plans.

Apart from the existing products, we plan to manufacture mortar-based products, concrete admixtures, expand our landscaping and walling solutions etc. We are also exploring zero carbon cementing solutions. We are also working towards introducing environmental-friendly products to replace the traditional products using innovative concepts.

At SOBHA we have continued to perform well, even during different stages of lockdown, demand-supply constraints, etc. We will remain focused on our operations, to deliver the projects within the stipulated timelines while maintaining all safety and quality standards. We have achieved our best presales performance during the quarter Q3-21. Real estate cash inflow and net cash flow achieved during Q-3 21 is the highest in the last 10 quarters. This is due to the continued efforts of digital marketing during uncertain times. While Bengaluru remains our core market, other operating cities like Gurugram, Kochi, Thrissur & Pune, have shown encouraging sales performance during the quarter. With new launches planned across various cities in the next few quarters and inherent demand for housing continuing, our sales performance during H2-21 is expected to be better than H2-20.