Barclays Bank, a major global financial services provider, and Britain’s third-largest bank, has done a ludicrous rental deal for office space in Mumbai, where it has ended up agreeing to pay Rs 1.08 crore per month for a 15,000 sq ft office space.
In the same quarter, the financial institution saw its Q1 profits fall, suffering a 1.0 billion-pound (1.25 billion-euro, 1.95 billion-dollar) hit from the global credit crunch. Earlier, the UK bank had announced £1.7 billion ($3.3 billion) in new write-downs amid speculation that it was preparing for a rights issue, to strengthen its capital position.
Yet, the same bank has gone ahead and closed a ludicrous lease deal in Worli, Mumbai, where it is said to have paid Rs 725 per sq ft for 15,000 sq ft office space in an apartment block called Ceejay House (pictured left). This, at a time, when Citibank, in a bid to resurrect itself from the subprime crisis, is selling off global properties, including ones in Mumbai's poshest areas.
This deal is particularly intriguing, considering it is unimaginable that a bank like Barclays would pay such a high rate, which even seasonsed real estate professionals in Mumbai are calling a "freak deal".
The devil of course would appear in the details of the deal, not much of which has been reported. For one, Barclays already occupies 60,000 sq ft, in the same building, which it leased or purchased (we are not sure) in 2006. Interestingly, we do not know what rate Barclays has paid for the earlier deal, and whether the current deal includes the renewal of the older property. Property deals can include many things that do not get recorded in the lease document.
One of my imaginative scenarios are as follows:
- Pay Rs 725 per sq ft for 15,000 sq ft but get the 60,000 sq ft. space for free.
- Pay Rs 725 per sq ft for 5 years and get another 5 years free.