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Standard Chartered Bank puts Goregaon office block up for sale

MUMBAI: The Standard Chartered Bank has put its 1.5lakh square feet office block in Goregaon up for sale and is looking at realising Rs 300 crore against the purchase price of Rs 325 crore five years ago. 

The six-floor structure in the Raheja Titanium complex was acquired in 2007 from the developer K Raheja Universal and houses the backoffice operations of StanCart's consumer banking division and support staff.Real estate sources say the bank's move follows its plans to consolidate its offices under one roof at its corporate headquarters in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). In 2008-end, StanChart had paid Rs 750 crore for approximately 1.47 lakh sq ft spread over four to five floors in Crescenzo building at BKC. A Stanchart spokesperson declined to comment on what the bank termed "market speculation" on its plans to sell the Goregaon office block. 

Sources said the property has been in the market for a month and the bank is yet to find any takers. "Corporates and developers are reluctant to deplete their cash reserves by purchasing the property due to the sluggish market and poor economic conditions," said an industry expert connected with the proposed sale. 

It may be recalled that StanChart's offshoring operations in India were in the news recently following a probe by the New York State's key banking regulator, Department of Financial Services (DFS). The DFS in had found deficient money laundering controls in outsourcing of work by StanChart to India, thus exposing the US financial system to terror financing and other risks. For the first half of 2012, StanChart had reported an 18% dip in its operating profit in India. The bank's profit before tax for the January-June 2012 period slipped to $311 million from $378 million last year. 

The bank's consumer banking business saw a 11% dip in operating profit to $48 million as against $44 million last year.