Stephen T Roberts, Chairman of BAI: Their Journey in India, With ICS Group and Kunal Premnarayen

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Stephen T Roberts, Chairman of Bentel Associates International (BAI) in his interview with Subhajit Roy of Ace Magazine speaks about his collaboration with ICS, the impact of FDI in multi- brand in retail, their services, expansion plans and so on. Bentel Associates International is one of the most renowned leading Architectural firms in South Africa. With its origin dating back to 1960, it has more than 60 years of experience and has been known for the huge number of shopping malls it has designed including The Al Khayma Center in South Africa, The Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg, Canal Walk in Cape Town, SA. Its €Theme Center' concept has grabbed many eyeballs.

Speaking about his experience in India for the past nine years, he claimed that it has been a smooth sail, owing to their joint venture with ICS Group in India. This partnership enabled them to foray into the Indian market. ICS had already been involved in packing garage design and management. They were looking out for artists to extend this operation in South Africa. In the year of 2004, they comprehended the need for supreme architectural services in retail real estate and mixed used developments. Their partnership came into fruition when they realized the need to capitalize this. In another interview of Kunal Premnarayen, Group CEO of ICS Group to Anil Mascarenhas, he asserted that partnership with international players like Bentel Associates has enabled them to launch a complimenting business, in the real estate and financial estate.

When asked about the reason behind the success of this collaboration, Stephen opined that ICS is a popular figure in the property development industry across the country irrespective of the fact that they are not architects. Together, they have a rich client list at present that includes some of the renowned property developers in the country.

Briefing about their services, he mentioned that the company provides an array of services to its clients including architectural design and development, master planning, interior design, graphic design, store planning, etc. At times, there are clients for whom they have to work from the grass root level right from mapping out the idea to assessing the efficiency of each of them. He also mentioned that it has been a 50:50 joint venture between Bentel Associates and ICS Group. While initially, they had to spend all their resources in operational costs, the outlook seems positive now.

About the expansion plans, he mentioned about a shopping mall and a high-rise residential portion in Coimbatore. Kunal Premnarayen of the ICS Group had also confirmed about the same in his earlier interview.
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