Interesting way to improve funding costs (story in Portuguese – we found no mention in Oi’s website), while also pleasing the banks involved. Oi, the Brazilian telecom giant, also happens to own a lot of real estate – for instance the spots in which they have antennas. It’s transferring 263 properties to an SPC, for which Oi will pay rent. At the same time the SPC raises money to pay for the property by selling these rent receivables as CRIs, the portuguese acronym for “certificates of real-estate receivables”. The flip side for banks is that they get to invest their savings accounts regulatory requirements in a “better-quality” CRI. For Oi, through the cost of this debt and the tax benefit of paying rent, they get to secure a lower cost of funding than that achieved in their recent (May ’10) bonds issue. Here’s a note (again in Portuguese) on CRIs becoming more common.