The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Unit Trust headquarters under sale shadow

Calcutta, April 15: Unit Trust of India (UTI) may sell off its headquarters in New Marine Lines, Mumbai, after UTI Mutual Fund — the new avatar of the country’s largest mutual fund — moves to its new office in the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

The five-storey building with a huge glass façade in south Mumbai near the Churchgate station has been UTI’s abode for over 30 years. Before this address, the Trust worked from the Reserve Bank Building in Mumbai.

“After we move to the Bandra-Kurla Complex — the business hub of Mumbai — we might dispose of the building in New Marine Lines that used to be our headquarters. But we haven’t decided on it as yet,” chairman M. Damodaran told The Telegraph.

Besides its headquarters, the Trust has four other properties in south Mumbai. Damodaran said these, too, could be sold or leased out.

“What is the point of operating out of four different buildings when we could relocate all our offices in one state-of-the-art building'” he explained.

The Trust’s real estates — valued at around Rs 600 crore a year ago — were held by US-64, its flagship scheme that is being closed down.

“Strictly speaking, these assets are no longer part of any particular scheme. Rather, they are under the administration of the government that has taken over the management of the assured return schemes and US-64,” UTI spokesperson K. Madhava Kumar explained.

He also said the Trust might dispose of other inessential properties around the country. “There are, however, no plans or commitments to sell or lease these properties out as of now,” he clarified.

The proceeds from the disposal of these properties would be used for the redemption of the assured return schemes that are being gradually phased out.

UTI Mutual Fund would be moving into its new office in the Bandra Kurla Complex within the next 10 days. This property — bang opposite the ICICI Bank headquarters — was acquired by the Trust some six years ago.

“Construction at the site started six years ago. The seven-storey building was ready for use two years ago. It is connected to all our 54 branch offices across the country, and has all the facilities that you could expect in a building like this,” Kumar said.

The Trust started looking out of its headquarters some seven years ago, when the Maharashtra government asked the financial institutions located in south Mumbai to help develop the Bandra-Kurla Complex as a financial hub.

UTI Mutual Fund is going to be the latest addition to a long list of leading organisations like the National Stock Exchange and ICICI Bank that have moved their headquarters to the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

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