Serum Institute Chairman, President and CEO Adar Poonwalla
Serum Institute Chairman, President and CEO Adar Poonwalla
File Photo

Billionaire Adar Poonawalla, who is the chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India (SII), is leasing the home of Polish billionaire Dominika Kulczyk in London’s Mayfair area. According to Bloomberg, he is paying USD 69,000 (Rs 50 lakh) a week as rent.

Poonawalla has more than one reason to be close to the United Kingdom. One is Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine which SII is producing for the world and the other is that he studied at London’s University of Westminster. So, he holds a close bond to the country.

Meanwhile, the decision to rent a place in the Mayfair area comes at a time when the luxury properties around that area have witnessed a slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic and BREXIT. As per property data by LonRes, rents in Mayfair have dropped 9 per cent in the last five years.

The property leased by Poonawalla, known to be the largest residences in the affluent neighbourhood measures about 25,000 square feet, has an adjoining guest house and access to one of the “secret gardens” of Mayfair. In the past, Poonawalla had bid for Grosvenor Hotel in Mayfair to turn it into a home, but that bid fell apart. So, his love for Mayfair is also an old one.

Poonawalla is part of one of the world’s richest families, which has a $15 billion fortune.

One main reason overseas purchasers and owners in the United Kingdom usually prefer renting properties rather than buying them in the UK is due to the stamp duty sales tax. This is a put off for them.

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