Indian REITs pitch for direct bank lending

Indian Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry on Wednesday pitched for the entities getting access to direct bank lending and their classification as equities. The Indian REITs Association — a newly formed umbrella body for the five-year-old sector — said such vehicles can issue bonds or borrow from non-bank lenders or mutual funds, but not directly from banks.

The body’s Chairman and Embassy REIT‘s Chief Executive Arvind Maiya told reporters it is in touch with the RBI (Reserve Bank Of India) for allowing banks to lend to such vehicles.

The real estate industry is asset-heavy and needs funds regularly to buy assets for which it should be allowed to borrow directly from banks, he added.

Alok Aggarwal, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Brookfield India Real Estate Trust, said at present REITs are classified as a “hybrid” instrument which creates confusion in the minds of the investors.

Maiya said classification as equities will lead to passive money coming into REITs as the instrument gets included in indices.

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