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Blackstone's India REIT portfolio Nexus Malls files for IPO

(Reuters) -Blackstone Inc-owned India malls real estate investment trust (REIT) portfolio, Nexus Malls, filed draft papers for an initial public offering with the domestic market regulator, a stock market filing showed on Thursday.

The IPO will include a fresh issue of shares worth up to 16 billion Indian rupees ($195.94 million), the draft prospectus said.

The IPO, India's first retail REIT, will also consist of a $300 million sale by Blackstone, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Blackstone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The deal will also mark Blackstone's third REIT IPO in India, a structure that has gained investor traction in recent years. It plans to list the company on the Indian stock markets in the next three months, the person said.

Nexus Malls owns 17 assets across 14 Indian cities, including Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, and covers 9.6 million square feet. It houses over 300 stores and has more than 135 million footfalls a year, data on its website showed.

Despite tepid IPO markets, Blackstone is hoping that Nexus' metrics, including 94% occupancy and a consumption tailwind, could fetch the company a valuation of about $3 billion, said the person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Nexus also recently acquired Select City Walk, one of the biggest malls in the Indian capital of New Delhi for about $550 million.

REITs own and operate real estate assets, similar to how mutual funds hold stocks. They earn rent from the properties they manage, which they use to distribute dividend to investors.

Morgan Stanley, Bank Of America, JP Morgan and Axis Capital are among bankers to the IPO, the prospectus said.

($1 = 81.6560 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru and M. Sriram in Mumbai; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila)