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Dangote Transaction: Dubai Money Flows Into West Africa

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Nigeria-based Dangote Cement is a publicly-traded company on the Nigeria Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of approximately US$ 24.5 billion (largest company in Nigeria by market capitalization). Founded by businessman Aliko Dangote, Dangote Cement received a US$ 300 million investment from the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). In return, ICD received a minority stake of 1.4%.

In a press release, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, said, ” We believe sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly Nigeria, provides fantastic long-term investment opportunities.”

QNB Acquires Stake in Ecobank

Dubai government money is flowing into West Africa, a pre-cursor for future Gulf streams of capital. In another Middle East – Africa deal, Qatar National Bank purchased a 12.5% interest in pan-African lender Ecobank Transnational Incorporated for around US$ 200 million. QNB bought existing ordinary and convertible preference shares from Nigeria’s Asset Management Corporation – a special purpose vehicle formed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to hold non-performing loans. QNB becomes the second largest investor in Ecobank, after South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

Should Pension Giants Still Back Low-Vol Strategies?

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As occidental central banks cautiously signal a retreat from loose monetary policy, will there be greater bouts of volatility in the near future? The low-volatility trade has worked like magic – post the global financial crisis.

The early February sell-off rankled the feathers of U.S. pension trustees, sending plausible-sounding studies in low-vol strategies to the toilet. CBOE’s Volatility Index, or VIX, closed high during the period of market mayhem. For CIOs, should the selling of volatility continue, or should the trade be nixed?

Selling risk or volatility has been profitable for a cadre of U.S. pensions as they sought yield in a low interest rate world of quantitative easing. The falling of interest rates to near zero, zero and even negative in some countries, forced asset owners to rethink yield strategies to help pay for liabilities such as pensions, insurance claims or college expenditures. Public pension funds in the United States and even in Europe have augmented investment proportions in real estate, credit and private equity at the expense of lower-yielding bond instruments over the past 20 years. Investment giants like CPPIB and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council have participated in selling off risk via investments in the reinsurance industry, while smaller pensions have utilized option strategies.

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Temasek Invests in Shaver Company Harry’s

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Harry’s, the subscription shaving company that is taking on companies such as Gillette, which is owned by the multi-national corporation Procter & Gamble, has raised US$ 112 million in a new round of financing.

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New CEO at Dubai Holding

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In early February, Dubai Holding LLC, an entity that once oversaw an aggressive Dubai International L.L.C. buyout player, hired a new chief executive officer. Dubai Holding hired Amit Kaushal as CEO, who replaces Edris Alrafi.

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