Tuesday, January 27, 2009

After thoughts governments

Placing a fielder after the ball gets struck

This is my favorite cricket metaphor. It typifies a late riser, usually a fielding team captain that moves around his fielders to spots after the ball gets hit and not before. Smart batsmen will sense this and occasionally mislead the fielding team by offering unorthodox strokes to spots where they are not so good at stroking (say, a right hand batsman playing a risky shot to the gully or extra cover on the off-side) – it’s just a ruse to rattle the field so that he can freely score at his favorite spots where there shall be no fielders. Smart captains normally set a field and make sure his bowlers bowl to the field, not letting the batsmen settle down.

Our administrators are of the former variety - of late risers. When our real estate market was red hot, global strategic and financial investors including PE were making the major mistake of investing large amounts of money in overvalued assets, our government came down with a slew of regulations – P-Note bans, setting high water marks for FDI, classifying convertible debentures as equity etc. They made sure that they punctured the swell until there was nothing but flat tires. Now after the investors are gone, the globe in a recession, real estate developers are broke, sense prevails.

The government is tweaking FDI regulations to exempt mixed development projects from the $10 million capitalization requirement, reduce the project size to 10 acres (from 25 acres) and cut the minimum built up area to 10,000 (from 50,000) square feet. The lock-in of three years after the date of completion of the project shall continue. The only condition is that 50% of the area will be kept open for hotels / tourism activities, shall be subject authority supervision and residential buildings shall not be put to use otherwise.

It was pretty much the same thing that RE developers earlier clamored for. Now after they are long broke or even dead and gone, the government is waking up to the idea. Anyway, I will stock up on some real estate stocks - expecting a rally :-)

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