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Digital Realty (DLR), Brookfield Infrastructure to Form JV in India

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Digital Realty DLR recently inked an agreement with Brookfield Infrastructure L.P. BIP to expand in the Indian market by forming a 50/50 joint venture (JV), which will operate under the brand name BAM Digital Realty.

BAM Digital Realty will focus on the development, ownership and operation of institutional quality data centers in India. It plans to acquire land parcels across multiple Indian metros. The JV, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory nods, is expected to occur in the second half of 2021.

The move will enable the significant expansion of Digital Realty's premier global data-center platform, PlatformDIGITAL, which supports the evolving data, control and networking demands of global enterprises.

Per Mark Smith, managing director, APAC for Digital Realty, "PlatformDIGITAL will offer our new and existing customers a consistent deployment model for extending their operations into India, providing fit-for-purpose infrastructure that will enable them to scale their digital business into one of the fastest-growing data markets in the world."

With a population of more than 1.4 billion, India is the fifth largest economy in the world in terms of GDP. Also, it has an enhanced focus on the digital delivery of services.

Backed by increasing data consumption, digital transformation of the economy and the onset of 5G and data localization trends, India enjoys a high demand for data centers. It represents a key market opportunity to extend coverage, capacity and connectivity options and support the needs of global hyperscale service providers, as well as international and local enterprises. This makes sense for Digital Realty to expand its platform in the region.

The JV will complement Digital Realty’s existing partnership with Brookfield Infrastructure. Last June, the team entered the Mexico market through the Ascenty platform.

Brookfield has a long-term experience of investing in India, and has nearly $20 billion of assets under management, which include infrastructure, renewable power, real estate, and private equity. Presently, its portfolio consists of 139,000 operational telecom wireless towers in India, which it intends to expand to 175,000 in the days to come. Hence, the collaboration will be beneficial to both entities.

Data centers are poised to benefit from the heightening reliance on technology that has been fueled by the pandemic, in turn, opening up growth opportunities for data-center providers, such as Digital Realty, Equinix, Inc. EQIX and CoreSite Realty Corporation COR.

However, the cut-throat competition in the industry, leads to aggressive pricing pressure, which is a concern.

Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Digital Realty’s shares have appreciated 15.3%, in the past six months, underperforming the industry’s rally of 21.5%.

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