Monday, July 21, 2014

Sebi draft norms for infrastructure trusts
[Editor: To encourage infrastructure development, RBI exempted long term bonds from mandatory regulatory norms like CRR and SLR if the money raised is used for funding of such projects. In other words, "Banks can issue long-term bonds with a minimum maturity of seven years to raise resources for lending to long term projects in infrastructure sub-sectors," the Reserve Bank said. The central bank said it intends to "ease the way for banks to raise long term resources to finance their long term loans to infrastructure". To say it in simple terms: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said banks would not have to maintain cash reserve ratio (CRR) or statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) and will not have to meet priority-sector lending targets for funds raised through bonds for extending credit to these sectors. Meanwhile, the Planning Commission secretary Sindhushree Khullar is scheduled to make a presentation this week on the performance of infrastructure sector in 2013-14. Secretaries from the ministries of power, road transport, shipping, civil aviation, coal, petroleum will also be present during the presentation. As many as 189 highway projects with a cost of Rs.1,80,000 crore are stuck due to various hurdles. Therefore, the time has come to invest in the infrastructure stocks, like IVRCL Ltd at Rs.23.35 and keep holding. It is to be remembered that the corporate debt restructuring cell (CDR) has approved an almost Rs.7,000-crore debt recast proposal for IVRCL Ltd. The company is also coming up with a Rights issue]
MUMBAI, Jul 18, 2014: In an attempt to meet the long-term financing needs of the infrastructure sector, Sebi on Thursday issued draft guidelines that would pave the way for launching infrastructure investment trusts in India. These trusts will invest public money only into completed and revenue generating infrastructure assets, and under-construction projects. The units issued by these trusts, just like mutual funds, will also be compulsorily listed on the bourses thus providing liquidity to investors.

Banks, international multilateral financial institutions, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), including sovereign wealth funds, can come in as strategic investors in infra investment trusts.

Infra investment trusts are proposed to "provide a suitable structure for financing/refinancing of infrastructure projects in the country," Sebi's draft guidelines said. These trusts will invest in "infrastructure projects, either directly or through SPVs. In case of PPP projects, such investments shall only be through SPV," it added.

According to Sebi's draft rules, an infra investment trusts which will invest at least 80% of the corpus in completed and revenue generating Infrastructure assets, will be allowed to raise funds only through public issue of units and the minimum subscription size and trading lot for such units will Rs 5 lakh. The balance 20% of the corpus may be invested in under construction infrastructure projects (subject to maximum of 10%) and other permissible investments.

An infra investment trust that aims at investing more than 10% of the corpus in under construction infrastructure projects, will be allowed to raise funds only through private placement from institutional players and body corporate. The minimum investment and trading lot for such units is fixed at Rs 1 crore. "Such (trusts) shall mandatorily invest in not less than one completed and revenue generating project and not less than one pre-COD project.

The draft guidelines said that the proposed holding of an infra investment trust in the underlying assets should be at least Rs 500 crore and the offer size of the trust shall not be less then Rs 250 crore at the time of initial offer of units. The rules also said that the total borrowing of such trusts and the underlying SPVs should not exceed 49% of the value of the trust's assets. However, this may exclude any debt infused by the trust in the underlying SPV. Further, for any borrowing exceeding 25% of the trust's corpus, requirement of credit rating and unit holders approval will be mandatory.

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