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Friday SWFI News Roundup, May 20, 2016

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MOODY’S: U.S. Tech Giants Hold Massive Pools of Cash

Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service put out a study showing that Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (formerly called Google), Cisco Systems and Oracle are sitting on US$ 504 billion, or 30%, of the US$ 1.7 trillion in cash and cash equivalents held by U.S. non-financial companies in 2015. The cash concentration is higher in 2015 compared to 2014, in which the companies mentioned held 27% of cash and 25% of cash in 2013.

December 2015 – Financial Data – Cash in Billions

    Apple, AAPL, US$ 215.7
    Microsoft, MSFT, US$ 102.6
    Alphabet, GOOGL, US$ 73.1
    Cisco Systems, CSCO, US$ 60.4
    Oracle, ORCL, US$ 52.3

Source: Moody’s Investors Service

CPPIB Posts Lowest Return Since Great Recession

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) posted an annual return of 3.4%. This is its lowest rate of return since the Great Recession. CPPIB released its latest annual report.

Korean Investors Buy IZD Tower in Vienna

CBRE Global Investors acquired IZD Tower in Vienna, Austria for Korean separate account institutional clients. The office tower is located in the district of Donau City. The seller is a fund managed by Vienna-based Signa Real Estate Capital Partners.

QIA Interested in Asia Square Tower I

Another sovereign wealth fund is taking a crack at a large Singapore office property. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has expressed interest in the Asia Square Tower 1 in Singapore. The seller is BlackRock.

Hermes Investment Management Buys Out Future Fund’s Stake in Southern Water

Hermes Investment Management, owned by the U.K.’s BT Pension Scheme, acquired a 17% stake in British utility Southern Water that was owned by Australia’s Future Fund. The Future Fund indicated it was looking to dispose of its position in Southern Water. Hermes Investment Management now owns 21% of Southern Water.

STT Buys Large Stake in Data Center from Tata

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Mubadala and SAMI Forge Ties to Explore Areas of Collaboration

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Mubadala Investment Company and Saudi Arabia Military Industries Company (SAMI), which is a defence company owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), agreed to a deal to partner and co-invest in defense manufacturing. This partnership grows defence ties between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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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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