Norms for realty investment trust to be notified soon: Sebi

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 19 2014, 22:23pm hrs
SebiTwo separate committees have been set-up for the specific guidelines on the issue. Reuters
With an aim to attract greater foreign and domestic investments into real estate, Sebi today said it will soon notify norms for creation and listing of business trusts for this key sector.

Two separate committees have been set-up for the specific guidelines on the issue.

Addressing a conference organised by Assocham here, Sebi Executive Director Ananta Barua said: "We will soon notify the new norms on Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs.

"Sebi has set up two committees that are looking into specifying guidelines for issues and similarly for listing of those units a separate committee has been set up."

Barua added: "We are trying to deepen the market and also bringing more investment products so that investment can be channelised to meet the needs of the economy."

He also said that REITs to be introduced in India is mainly for commercial assets - office premises, industrial parks, IT parks, warehouses, apartments which are rental and not for residential properties.

He explained that REITs is being compared with mutual funds but it is a totally different product and similar to the IPO in the sense that the equity shares, as asset, would be there throughout life.

"This whole regime is based on disclosures and not on merits and as the Sebi we will not go into whether this asset is good for REIT or not, here the parties will take the transactions as a lot of transparency has been given at all the levels, disclosure will be there," he said.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India's board had approved the regulations on Real Estate Investment Trusts last month after receiving public comments.

He further said that before making these regulations Sebi had consulted the investors, not only in India but all over the world even the pension funds, sovereign wealth funds from many countries like South Africa and Qatar among others.

According to experts, the new instrument has potential of attracting USD 8-10 billion into the real estate sector.

REITs would pool in money from investors and issue units in exchange. Most of the money collected would be invested in commercial properties which are completed and generate income.

The norms would enable listing and trading of REITs as any other security on the stock exchange and also help create new platform for raising of funds by real estate companies.

The guidelines, approved by Sebi board, have fixed the minimum requirement for asset sizes permitted to be listed in India at Rs 500 crore. Earlier there was a minimum requirement of Rs 1,000 crore in this regard.

REITs may invest directly in properties or through a special purpose vehicle (SPV). As per the norms, 80 per cent of the value of a REIT shall be invested in completed and revenue-generating assets, and the remaining 20 per cent may be invested in developmental properties and other assets.

In the Union budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced significant tax incentives for this product.