SEBI announces guidelines for infrastructure debt funds

Any existing mutual fund or a company engaged in financing the infrastructure for five years can set up an infrastructure debt fund (IDF), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said today.

The market regulator, which came out with guidelines for infrastructure debt funds today, said such an 'Infrastructure Debt Fund' should be a close-ended scheme maturing after five years or an interval scheme with lock-in of five years.

The IDF would invest 90 per cent of its assets in the debt securities of infrastructure companies. The minimum investment into IDF would be Rs1 crore and the minimum size of the unit would be Rs10 lakh, SEBI chairman UK Sinha said.

The IDF, proposed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Union Budget for FY12, is intended to channel long-term debt funds to infrastructure projects in the country, which would require investments to the tune of $1 trillion during the 12th Plan.

An IDF may be set up either as a trust or company. While the trust based IDF (Mutual Fund) would be regulated by SEBI, an IDF set up as a company (NBFC) would be regulated by RBI.

Under the SEBI guidelines, the strategic investor in an IDF would have to make a firm commitment of Rs25 crore. The units of infrastructure debt fund schemes should be listed on the stock exchange.