Since 2014* Befimmo is a BE-REIT (SIR/GVV). The BE-REIT (SIR/GVV) is similar to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) put in place in several countries (REIT (USA), SIIC (France) and FBI (Netherlands)).
The legislator intended the BE-REIT to ensure a high degree of transparency for real-estate investments and distribute an important part of its cash flow while enjoying certain advantages.
The BE-REIT is monitored by the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) and subject to specific regulations.
The main rules are as follows:
- it must have the status of “Société Anonyme” or “Société en Commandite par Actions”;
- it must be listed on the stock exchange;
- borrowings may not exceed 65% of total assets at market value;
- there are strict rules relating to conflicts of interest;
- accountancy according to IFRS-rules and mainly the portfolio must be carried at market value;
- the real-estate assets must be valued every quarter by independent experts;
- the risk must be diversified: no more than 20% of the assets may be invested in only one property complex;
- exemption from corporation tax provided that 80% of “cashflows” are distributed (calculated according to article 13 of the Royal Decree of 13 July 2014);
- a withholding tax of 30% is deducted when paying out dividends.
This set of rules is designed to minimise the risk incurred.
Companies merging with a BE-REIT are subject to tax of 16.995% on unrealised capital gains and untaxed reserves (16.5% plus 3% additional crisis levy).