Bengaluru: WeWork India plans to expand its portfolio of coworking space by one million square feet in 2022, as corporations embrace flexibility in their work models, Chief Executive Officer Karan Virwani said.

Buoyed by solid demand over the last year, the flexible shared workspace company has turned profitable, said Virwani. “Over 50% of the planned expansion for next year is already pre-committed by some large companies who are booking flexibility and hybrid office structures,” he said.

The coworking firm is set to post revenue of Rs 800 crore for 2021 and is looking to double that in 2022. “Last year was a challenging period for the industry due to the lockdown, but we have again turned profitable last month and are continuing to maintain our growth,” said Virwani.

The company has seen a strong revival in demand and has leased more than 1.7 million square feet of office space to large enterprises and smaller firms in 2021.

WeWork continues to remain bullish and focus on the growth of flexible workspaces in the country and has closed some large deals running between 200,000 and 300,000 square feet, the India CEO said.

The company plans to raise capital to fuel its expansion plans. “Since we are profitable, we don’t need much capital, but there will be some fundraising,” said Virwani.

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Last year, the flexible workspace operator had raised Rs 200 crore from domestic and international investors. In the January-March period of 2021, the company had sales of 10,000 desks totalling 7 lakh square feet, the highest for any quarter.

The demand for flexible space will be largely driven by consulting, IT-BPM, and ecommerce firms that are establishing multiple satellite offices in suburban locations in metro cities. Tier I cities are still the mainstay for flexible office spaces, accounting for about 88% of the total stock as of the third quarter of 2021.

After a dip in occupancy and prices during the Covid-19 pandemic, flex space providers have seen occupancy revive in the latter part of 2021 with an average occupancy of 75%.

US-based office space provider WeWork Global has a 25% stake in WeWork India, a subsidiary of Bengaluru-based estate developer Embassy Group. The two groups had entered into the partnership in 2017. WeWork Global has the right to buy more stake in its Indian arm through first right of refusal.

WeWork is present in 36 locations and has a total of 64,000 desks across markets including Bengaluru, Gurugram and Mumbai, with 5 million square feet of office space. It plans to add around 25,000 desks in 2022.

According to an industry estimate, the flexible workspace stock is expected to exceed 60 million square feet in metro and non-metro cities by 2023.

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