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China Investment Corporation Narrows in on BC Timberlands

The China Investment Corporation (CIC) is drawing closer to buying a significant stake in Island Timberlands LP. Brookfield Asset Management is the parent company of Island Timberlands. Island Timberlands controls around 258,000 hectares of timberland on Vancouver Island and the surrounding area. Island Timberlands harvests around 1.8 million cubic meters per annum, majority being exported to the Pacific Northwest USA and Asia.

Asia has robust demand for Douglas-fir and whitewood species. This demand has led Chinese firms to invest in the forestry sector in Western Canada. For example, in April 2011, ROC Holdings Ltd., a private Canadian company owned by a parent Chinese firm, purchased West Fraser Timber’s Skeena Sawmills division.

High quality real assets are in demand by sovereign wealth funds and large public funds.

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RCIF Stake Sale in Children’s Retailer Detsky Mir Blocked By Courts

A joint offering of shares of in Detsky Mir by by the Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF) and Sistema was blocked by a Russian court at the request of state-controlled oil company Rosneft. Sistema’s 50% stake in the company was frozen as part of the injunction, which also froze its holdings in other companies, including MTS-Bank, and Sistema Telecom Assets, according to Russian News Agency TASS. Sistema is currently the target of a number of lawsuits by Rosneft’s owner, oil magnate Igor Sechin.

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SWFI First Read, December 16, 2017

Facebook Concedes that Using FaceBook Could be Bad for Consumers

David Ginsberg is Facebook’s director of research. Moira Burke is a computational social psychologist on the Data Science team at Facebook since early 2012. They published a post on Facebook entailing the impact the social network has on peoples’ moods. According to the December 15, 2017 blog post titled “Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?”, they commented that, “University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook.”

The post adds, “A study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey. Though the causes aren’t clear, researchers hypothesize that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison — and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering. Another theory is that the internet takes people away from social engagement in person.”

UBS Asset Management Wins Colonial First State Australian REIT Mandate

Sydney-based Colonial First State awarded an approximate A$ 170 million sub-advisory mandate to UBS Asset Management to oversee an Australian real estate investment trust strategy, essentially 50% of the FirstChoice Property Securities fund. The previous advisor of the mandate, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, was terminated.

State Street Global Advisors Names Betty Ng as MD and COO of Asia ex-Japan

State Street Global Advisors hired Betty Ng as managing director and chief operating officer for Asia ex-Japan. This is a new position. Betty Ng started effective December 11, 2017. She will report to June Wong, the company’s senior managing director and head of Asia ex-Japan.

Before this role, Betty Ng was General Manager of Private Wealth Management at the Agricultural Bank of China in Hong Kong.

Kroger to Exit from Central States Pension Fund

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Umirzak Shukeyev Exits Samruk-Kazyna, Promoted as Deputy Prime Minister

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed Umirzak Shukeyev as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture. Umirzak Shukeyev exited as Chief Executive Officer of Samruk-Kazyna. No interim leader has been named for Samruk-Kazyna.

Samruk-Kazyna is in the midst of floating a number of state-owned companies such as Air Astana and JSC National Atomic Company Kazatomprom.

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