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French state nuclear giant Areva invites new investors

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AFP reports that, “French state-controlled nuclear giant Areva said Tuesday it was opening its capital to new investors and would sell a subsidiary to raise money for massive investments in new nuclear technology.

The company also said it was considering the sale of its stakes in French metal mining group Eramet and Geneva-based computer chip maker STMicroelectronics. The Financial Times reported earlier that the French government was preparing a capital increase and could sell a 15-percent stake to Asian and Middle Eastern investors for two billion euros (2.8 billion dollars).

The FT reported Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Areva’s Japanese partner, was set to take a stake in the French company. MHI told AFP it had not received an offer to buy a stake but would study such a proposal. The French government is also in talks with sovereign wealth funds such as Mubadala of Abu Dhabi over their participation in a capital increase, which will be launched later this year, the FT said. France produces most of its electricity from nuclear power and French energy groups like EDF, Total and GDF Suez have previously been touted as possible investors in Areva. The report comes amid growing interest in nuclear power around the world, sparked by fears of climate change, worries about the reliability of supplies from the Middle East and Russia and record high oil prices in 2008.”

read more: AFP

Cryptocurrencies Creep into the Middle East

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Banking behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase disclosed its own digital currency called JPM Coin. The digital token will be used to settle payments between clients. JPM Coin will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and be based off Quorum. Quorum is J.P. Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. JPM Coin plans to compete with Ripple, which created XRP, another digital currency that is used for settlements. Ripple’s main target market is cross-border payments and remittances.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have unveiled their plans for Aber, an interbank digital currency. Both banks have indicated that Aber will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies. It will be rolled out on a probational basis, and used by select banks within the two countries. A date for rollout has not yet been declared. A joint statement hinted at a broader application of the currency in the days ahead. If “no technical obstacles are encountered, economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.”‏ Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies will be employed. The plan is for ‘Proof-of-Concept’ testing, which involves studying and fully comprehending the ways modern technologies can achieve practical applications. The digital currency has the potential to become a reserve system for central payments.

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CPPIB Inks Partnership Vehicle with La Française and its Shareholder CMNE

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La Française and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) formed a strategic partnership for the launch of a real estate investment and development vehicle: Société Foncière et Immobilière du Grand Paris. The joint venture between CPPIB (80%) and Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) (20%), La Française’s shareholder, will invest in major real estate projects linked to the Grand Paris infrastructure in the Greater Paris area. The parties will initially allocate €387.5 million in equity to the venture. The partnership will target regeneration and infrastructure-led investments.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norges Bank Governor Voices Opinion on Relaxing SWF Withdrawals over Specific Uses

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Øystein Olsen, the Governor of Norges Bank, which oversees the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), voiced his opinion on the Norwegian government’s plans to alter the rules that regulates the country’s SWF withdrawal rules in certain circumstances. The coalition government led by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wants to relax the limits on SWF withdrawals in specific cases. Norway’s government seeks to raid the fund to pay for the replacement of four major state buildings impacted by a terrorist attack and a crashed Royal Norwegian Navy frigate (KNM Helge Ingstad).

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