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Blackstone launches its data centre business in India

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Global private equity investor Blackstone has started its data centre business in Asia from India, and plans to scale it up to 600 MW over the next two years through presence in five locations in the country.

Lumina CloudInfra, a data centre platform owned and managed by Blackstone’s Real Estate and Tactical Opportunities funds, was launch on Tuesday.  To begin with, Lumina, is looking at two large-scale assets in Mumbai and Chennai, and later expansion into Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad and Pune, as it intends to cash in on India’s booming data centre market, which is predicted to surpass $10 billion by 2027.

In India, Japanese firm NTT in May announced an expansion of its data centre footprint to 12 facilities, with more than 2.5 million square feet and 220 MW of facility power.

Yotta Infrastructure—Hiranandani Group’s data centre business currently has two operational data centres—one in Greater Noida that it launched earlier this month with a capacity of 160 MW, and another in Navi Mumbai, with a capacity of 210 MW.

Also, Nxtra by Airtel — a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel has plans to invest `5,000 crore by 2025 to triple its data centre capacity to 400 MW.

Reliance Jio is also understood to have plans for a 200 MW data centre campus with $950-million investment outlay in Delhi-NCR. In 2019, the Adani Group had announced a `70,000-crore investment in this asset class. Private equity majors — CapitaLand India Trust (erstwhile Ascendas India Trust), Brookfield and Everstone — have also announced multi-million dollar investments in data centres in India over the last two years.

“This demand is driven by India’s growing attraction as a technology and innovation hub, rapidly increasing Internet and mobile consumption, and government initiatives to transform India into a digitally-empowered economy. As the digitalisation mega trend continues accelerating, Lumina will look for opportunities to expand its footprint in India and other Asian markets,” Blackstone said in statement.

Anil Reddy, formerly head of global Cloud Infrastructure at Microsoft, will head the platform and serve as the global chief executive officer to lead the platform’s strategy, expansion and growth across Asia. In addition, Sujeet Deshpande has been appointed as the chief executive officer of the Indian business, earlier president and India county head of Colt Data Center Services.

Commenting on the development, Anil Reddy, chief executive officer, Lumina, said, “The data centre sector is anchored by strong demand for data creation and storage around the world, particularly in India where many of the fastest-growing companies are based.”

Jasvinder Khaira, head of digital infrastructure in Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities Group, said, “Growth of the public and private cloud is one of our highest conviction investment themes globally, particularly in India where many of our investments have centred around technology-enabled businesses and properties.”

Asheesh Mohta, head of real estate acquisitions in India for Blackstone, said, “This is a unique, fully integrated platform with capabilities in development, operations, management, and leasing, and adds to our strong track record of building high-quality data centre business globally and real asset portfolios of scale in India.”

Blackstone’s current investments in digital infrastructure include QTS Realty Trust in the United States, which it bought in 2021 for close to $10 billion in the world’s largest transaction in data centre history at the time; a sizeable portfolio of data centres in Japan on long-term contracts with cloud service providers; Phoenix Towers International, a private cell tower platform in the Americas and Europe; and Hotwire Communications, a pioneer in fibre optic technology.

Blackstone has built real asset portfolios of scale across major asset classes including logistics, retail, and office, and world-leading businesses in major sectors such as technology and financial services.

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