The REICs were introduced in Italy with Law 296/2006. A REIC is a company with residence in Italy and its aim is mainly renting property with some constraints: the value of the property must be at least 80% of assets, revenues arising from the rental activities must constitute at least 80% of total revenues, the shares must be traded on regulated markets (Italian, one of the Member States of the European Union or one of the countries of the European Economic Area), no member shall hold more than 51% of the voting rights and more than 51% of the participation in profits, at least 35% of the shares must be held by shareholders who do not have more than 1% of the voting rights and 1% of the profit participation. The REICs have the following characteristics: a) they decide independently the maximum percentage of debt (as opposed to German REITs that may borrow up to a value equal to 55% of the real estate); b) they decide themselves the limits to the concentration of risks (in respect of certain parameters: maximum 20% of revenues coming from the same tenant, as determined by the management company and approved by the Italian Consob); c) direct governance: the management of the company and, therefore the property, is carried out directly by shareholders; e) plurality of subscribers; f) prevalence of real estate activities. The introduction of REICs has increased the competitiveness, transparency and liquidity of the Italian real estate market. 
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Editor: Alberto Maria SORRENTINO