REITs, InvITs: SEBI Prescribes Ways for Compliance with Minimum Public Holding of 25%

Markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has prescribed methods, including an offer-for-sale (OFS) mechanism, rights issue and issuance of bonuses to unitholders of real estate investment trust (REIT) and infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) for compliance with the 25% minimum public-holding rules.

As per the rule, any listed REIT or InvIT, which has a public unitholding of less than 25% is required to raise their public unitholding to about 25% within a timeframe of three years from the date of listing of units.

Managers of such units will be required to adopt any method set by the markets regulator in order to facilitate REITs and InvITs to achieve minimum public unitholding compliance.

These methods include the issuance of units to the public via an offer document, OFS of units that the sponsor, manager and their associates to the public via an offer document and OFS of units via the stock exchange mechanism for abiding by the rule.

Additionally, the markets regulator also provided ways such as rights issues along with bonus issues to public unit holders, allotment of units as per institutional placement and sale of units that sponsor, manager and their associates hold in the open market, with respect to certain conditions to emerging investment instruments.

SEBI has directed stock exchanges to keep track of the methods undertaken by REITs and InvITs to raise their unitholding. In a condition where there is no compliance the bourse witnesses with regard to the method, this will reported to the markets regulator on a quarterly basis.

REITs include a portfolio of commercial real estates, a significant portion of whch is already leased out. On the other hand, InvITs include a portfolio of infrastructure projects, including roads, highways and utilities transmission assets, etc.

While being relatively new category of investment instrument in the country, REITs and InvITs are quite popular at the global level.

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