India’s real estate industry more than tripled in value between 2008 and 2020, but even this astonishing growth is expected to be dwarfed before the end of the decade, with analysts predicting it will rise from US$180 billion to over a trillion dollars.
And that’s despite the crippling effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns and a decidedly turbulent global economic outlook.
What’s perhaps even more astonishing is that one company, Mumbai-based Godrej Properties, has managed to grow three times faster than the overall market for the last five years and in doing so become the country’s largest listed real estate developer.
"We’ve grown sales at close to 30 percent every year under extremely tough circumstances" Godrej Managing Director and CEO Mohit Malhotra tells The CEO Magazine. "This year the plan is to cross 10,000 crores [US$2.5 billion], and during the next three-to-five years, continue to grow at the same pace."
We are strengthening our talent and making sure the organization structure, processes and people are scaled up as we scale up the business.
It’s no coincidence that the upsurge in profits occurred immediately after Malhotra took over the company’s reigns in 2017. He was included in The Economic Times ‘40 Under 40’ list and, 12 months later, WCRC Leaders Asia honored him as ‘India’s Most Trusted CEO’.
A key to his unrivaled success has been the brand purpose: ‘To create everyday joy in our customer’s life’, and the company’s spectacular residential and commercial developments across the country are testament to the fact that this customer-centric approach is reaping dividends.
Malhotra joined Godrej in 2010 as Business Development Head, became an Executive Director in 2015 before stepping up to the role of CEO in 2017.
"In the next five years there’ll be an upcycle so I don’t see any major challenges," he says confidently.
"Business development is a key priority as we want to continue expanding our market share in the top four cities that we operate in. We’re also looking to grow through plotted developments in tier two cities."
Malhotra has also opened up another avenue to improve customer experience. "We’ve started a new company called Godrej Living, which will be doing property management for all our businesses and is a key priority," he says.
"And of course, we are strengthening our talent and making sure the organization structure, processes and people are scaled up as we scale up the business."
Partners in expansion
Godrej’s scale is already impressive, consistently achieving seven or eight major developments in a year; a work rate that would be impossible without deep, long-term relationships with its key suppliers, which is something Malhotra is particularly proud of.
He groups them into four categories. "The first is the landowners, who are our joint venture partners and a source of repeat business and positive word-of-mouth, which really helps our development," he explains.
"The second is all about design and architecture, and we have some excellent relationships both here and abroad.
From being a very small player, we’re now market leaders. We’re on a transformative journey that will continue for many years to come.
"Next comes the construction partners – we work with both large companies like L&T and also smaller, local ones across several geographic areas. Finally, there is our procurement suppliers, where we have done strategic deals with paint and tile companies, for example.
"We rely on many key third parties and have formed extremely strong bonds over many years so we get the best contracting terms and rates. It’s a win–win for all parties."
Godrej is now worth 18 times as much as it was in 2010. Few can doubt that such exponential expansion isn’t about to slow down any time soon.
"From being a very small player, we’re now market leaders. We’re on a transformative journey that will continue for many years to come," Malhotra says.
In recent years, Godrej Properties has received over 300 awards and recognitions, including the Porter Prize in 2019, The Most Trusted Real Estate Brand in the 2019 Brand Trust Report, Builder of the Year at the CNBC-Awaaz Real Estate Awards in 2019 and The Economic Times Best Real Estate Brand in 2018.
In the 2021 financial year, Godrej Properties emerged as the largest developer in India by the value and volume of residential sales achieved. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark ranked the company number one globally among listed residential developers for its sustainability and ESG practices.