India regulator allows realty, infrastructure trusts to issue bonds

Sebi plans to allow REITs, InvITs to raise funds via bonds

A proposal to amend REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and InvITs (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) would be placed before Sebi's board tomorrow in order to facilitate growth of such trusts, an official said.

India's market regulator on Monday permitted real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs) to issue bonds, as part of measures it has been taking to help attract investors to a capital-starved property sector. The Board also chose to have further consultation with the stakeholders on a proposal of allowing REITs to invest at least 50% of the equity share capital or interest in the underlying holding company and similarly allowing holding company to invest at least 50% of the equity share capital or interest in the underlying SPVs. SEBI also allowed single-asset REIT on similar lines of InvIT.

According to a Sebi statement released after its board meeting, the regulator has made a decision to amend the definition of "valuer" for both REITs and InvITs. Further REITs have been allowed to lend to underlying special objective vehicle (SPV). Earlier, only InvITs were allowed to get funding from strategic investors.

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Sebi had in 2014, notified the REITs and InvITs Regulations, allowing setting up and listing of such trusts.

Sebi said strategic investors such as registered non bank finance companies (NBFCs), scheduled commercial banks and multilateral financial institutions could also subscribe to the units issued by such trusts. The regulator has also removed restrictions on the nature of investors who can participate in REITs bringing it at par with the infrastructure investment trusts. Currently, a REIT requires two projects under it; this may be changed to a single asset.

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