Srinivasan Gopalan, Group CEO, Ozone Group

We are looking forward to extend our commercial portfolio and also we will soon be venturing into affordable housing.

Nov 04, 2019 11:11 IST India Infoline News Service

Srinivasan Gopalan, Ozone Group
Srinivasan Gopalan, Group CEO, Ozone Group, fondly called –Srini, is a rank holder (in CA-inter) Chartered Accountant. He is also a Cost Accountant (ICWA), and also has over 20 years’ experience. He has worked in different organizations such as Deloitte, Gharda Chemicals and ROW2 Technologies. He held a CEO position with ROW2 Technologies, a Start-up, when he was just 31 years! Srini was COO & CFO at the well-known Real Estate group – The Wadhwa group, Mumbai. He joined Ozone Group in mid-2014 and marshalled a high performance team covering core areas like Sales, Marketing, Planning, Construction and Facilities management. His strategic guidance & leadership have propelled Ozone Group towards a 2.5X sales revenue growth, in just 2 years! Srini’s management style is ‘lead by example’, which inspires and energises the entire organisation to keep up with his super speed!  Under his able leadership, Ozone has won several awards & accolades for quality construction, design innovation, customer service, branding and CSR activities.  These include: Ozone group being conferred one of the Most Promising Real Estate Brands of Asia, The Metrozone project winning the CNBC Awaaz Best Residential project in Chennai 2016, CREDAI CSR award, Asian Real Estate award for Best Township of the Year 2016, Most Admired Upcoming Project of the for The Gardenia, in 2015 in Chennai, among other.

In an interview with Shweta Papriwal, Editor, indiainfoline.comSrinivasan Gopalan said, “Ozone Group has a diversified portfolio of integrated townships, standalone residential projects, plotted developments, DM projects as well as commercial and retails developments.”
Ozone Group is one of the renowned real estate groups of South India. Tell us about your few popular projects and also brief us on your recent entry in Mumbai market.
Ozone Group has, till date, completed about 12.5 million sq. ft of area in the last 15 years, and about 30 million sq. ft is under construction. 
Ozone Group has a diversified portfolio of integrated townships, standalone residential projects, plotted developments, DM projects as well as commercial and retails developments. Projects that the Ozone Group has undertaken include Ozone Urbana – Bangalore, Promenade – Bangalore, Oasis – Bangalore, Polestar – Bangalore, The Metrozone, The Gardenia -  Chennai, Ozone Techno Park - Chennai, Ozone Greens - Chennai, The Gateway – Mumbai, The Autograph – Mumbai and Mirabilis, Mumbai, to a name a few. 
To promote the concept of self – sustainable townships, we have undertaken township projects like Ozone Urbana in Bangalore spread across 185 acres, The Metrozone and Ozone Greens in Chennai spread across 42 and 60 acres resp. We have a 50 acres upcoming township in Hoskote, Bangalore, which will be an affordable housing project.
To ensure a balance of long gestation and quick turn – around projects, in addition to our large scale integrated township, we also have stand - alone boutique projects like Gardenia, WF48, Polestar, Green View Koramangala in Bangalore whereas Mirabilis and The Autograph in Mumbai. Similarly, we have a few plotted developments to ensure a quick working capital cycle. Our plotted development projects are Oasis, Paradise and Verdana in Bangalore. Few upcoming plotted developments are Ozone Urbana and Ozone Greens in Bangalore.
With respect to our entry in Mumbai, our business strategy in the city is to be asset light. With an intention for delivering stuck projects with a quick turnaround cycle, we took over two projects The Gateway in Andheri and Kingsville in Wadala. These are purely development management projects taken from financial institutions basis a structured fees of 12-15% of the top-line depending upon the construction status of the projects. 
In addition to the residential portfolio described above, we currently own ~ 1.5 million sq ft of commercial office space between Chennai and Bangalore. A further 5 million sq ft is under development.
Your group has verticals for both residential and commercial, what is the revenue/profit share of both these? Who are your main clients in base mid- category or high value customers?      
Our core segment being residential, the share of residential is 85% and that commercial segment being 15%. We are looking forward to extend our commercial portfolio and also we will soon be venturing into affordable housing.  Ozone Group has residential projects across various price range for people from all walks of life. Our projects range from 30 lakhs to 2.5 cr and more. This allows our valued customers to choose the best product that suits their budget. We have a very strong base of NRI customers with 20% share of total customer base that we have across all projects which is 10000 plus.
What are the other business verticals of your group? Who are the major equity players you have worked with?
Ozone Group diversifies into residential and commercial real estate primarily. Apart from this we also have a business of coffee plantations in India and in South East Asia. We have worked with equity players such as Urban Infra, HDFC Fund, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Xander, Aditya Birla Fund and more.
What are your group’s future plans? Any new business verticals you are looking to foray into? 
We are looking forward to expand our commercial portfolio from 5% to 15-20% in next two years. We are creating a platform for offshore investors to invest in our commercial projects planned in Chennai and Bangalore. Other than this, we will be launching multiple residential projects in Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. These projects will be a mix of affordable, mid-segment, premium, luxury and plotted development.
Your thoughts on green and sustainable living.
A focus on sustainable and eco-friendly design, collaborations with global leaders in design and customized amenities & service offerings to a varied segment of buyers in luxury and ultra-luxury space is creating a distinct product identity of residential offerings with leading developers in India. Being future-ready calls for innovation in design, amenities, and services without compromising on the feeling of spaciousness sums up the design mantra.  For future-ready technology and designs, developers are pushing every boundary to ensure that their projects are future-ready with a distinct design identity.  The green and eco-friendly buildings which are designed keeping in mind the mantra of conserve, recycle and reuse will not only improve the environment and ecology but can reduce energy consumption by 20-30 per cent, water usage by 30-50 per cent and significantly reduce waste generation by extensive recycling. With an estimated 5 per cent of Indian construction following the Green Building norms, there is definitely scope for future expansion and growth.
In most of our projects we have adopted advanced technology to ensure zero wastage and maximum recycling. We have incorporate rain water harvesting systems, maximum landscaping, hydroponics, Miyawiki gardens etc in our residential projects to ensure sustainable living. Also, we endeavour to ensure that our customers enjoy maximum fresh air and natural light.
Give us your opinion on the industry using new trends for better, smart and efficient launches to deliver promising growth potentials.
In future, automation and green buildings will play an important role. Smart home Internet of Things (IoT) devices will drive the future of home automation, whether it is for an innovative home lighting or a security solution, or for transformation into a fully automated system.  Home automation minimizes the user's intervention in monitoring home settings and controlling home appliances. While the most obvious benefit of smart homes is convenience, smart home IOT devices can help reduce costs and conserve energy. At Ozone Group, we are constantly striving to deliver futuristic property solutions to our customers. We have our Polestar project in Bangalore, which consist of only smart homes.
Real Estate is somehow going through a challenging phase in terms of slow-down in economy and less customer demand and piled up inventories at pan - India. How has your group prepared itself to handle these conditions?
The slowdown is being experienced in the luxury real estate segment primarily. The real demand in India in the affordable to middle income bracket and this is 80% of our residential portfolio. Our township projects offer units ranging from 25 lakhs to 1.25 cr which sees consistent velocity of sales on a month on month basis. The stand-alone projects are hardly impacted due to the low volume of inventory available in any case. In past six months, Ozone Group has been successful in selling 3.3 units a day on an average which helped in infusion of necessary funds for construction. The asset light model helps us in creating the brand that counts as we work with our core competency of sale, collection and delivery of the product. Our balanced mix of the residential real estate portfolio has helped us to tackle the slowdown in the economy.
To further strengthen our balance sheet, we look forward to creating a strong commercial portfolio in Bangalore and Chennai. We are currently in talks with marquee international financial institutions to launch a platform for this asset class.  This is a key long term focus area for us and the unbelievable opportunities available in the current market conditions has given us the perfect opportunity to make our mark in this space. 

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