Saudi Arabia launches first real estate investment trust

14 November 2016

Local investment bank first to use new regulations

Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Capital, a subsidiary of Riyad Bank, successfully listed the kingdom’s first real estate investment trust (REIT) on 13 November.

About SR9m ($2.4m) of units in the REIT were traded on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) on the first day.

The price increased 10 per cent to SR11, the maximum daily price change permitted.

The Riyad REIT Fund has a capital of SR500m, and its current portfolio comprises Al-Motamayz Center, Al-Izdihar Center and Al-Fursan Tower in Riyadh, Ascott Tahlia Tower in Jeddah and Al-Shatea Towers in Dammam. It is developing the Ascott Corniche in Alkhobar.

The Capital Market Authority approved the REIT regulations in October.

The REITs should have a minimum size of SR100m, of which 75 per cent should be invested in Saudi Arabia. The funds cannot invest in vacant land and no more than 25 per cent of their capital can be invested in development projects.

The changes are part of Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Programme, which aims to stimulate private investment in housing.

The Housing Ministry plans to build 1.5 million housing units over eight years.

Only one REIT has previously listed in the GCC, Emirates REIT in Dubai. Bahrain’s Eskan Bank is preparing to list a REIT following regulatory changes on the Bahrain Bourse.

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