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India is Slowly Opening up to Sovereign Wealth Funds

Historically, investment access to India’s equity markets has created several problematic issues and headaches for sovereign wealth funds. Currently, sovereign wealth funds are grouped under the category foreign institutional investor or FII defined by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

A few current sovereign-entity FIIs registered include:

  • Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Council
  • Australian Future Fund
  • Provincial Government of Alberta (AIMCo)
  • China’s National Social Security Fund
  • Fullerton Fund Management Company LTD (SWE of Temasek Holdings)
  • Kuwait Investment Authority
  • New Zealand Superannuation Fund
  • Norges Bank
  • Queensland Investment Corporation
  • Singapore’s GIC

Sovereign entities can also invest as a Foreign Venture Capital Investor. FII’s are under strict regulation and cannot hold large positions in listed Indian companies. Times have changed, India wants to increase foreign investment in companies and attract foreign capital. There is a heavily-debated plan underway to create a new defined class of investor for sovereign funds which will be fundamentally different from the FII classification. This new proposal for sovereign funds would allow them to hold a much larger stake at 20% compared with 10% for a publicly traded Indian firm. The plan must be approved by SEBI and receive permission from the Reserve Bank of India. India’s fear was that foreign governments could create numerous sovereign entities to bypass the 10% rule and thus effectively control the company for geopolitical reasons.

Recently, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation opened up an investment office in Mumbai. This was after India and Singapore signed a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA). The Indian Government would also treat Temasek Holdings and GIC as separate investors, not acting in concert in potential large stake undertakings. Sovereign wealth funds are warming to investing in the Indian equity markets as the Government of India begins to warm up to foreign investments.

SouthGobi’s CEO Arrested, CIC Struggles with Investment

The China Investment Corporation (CIC) has long struggled with its investments in coal assets, specifically in globally-listed coal miner SouthGobi Resources Ltd, which operates its flagship coal mine in Mongolia. In November 2009, CIC and SouthGobi Resources inked a convertible debenture deal. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Qatar Central Bank Deals with MSCI

MSCI, a stock index company whose benchmarks influence investor behavior, has tremendous indirect power impacting the stock markets of smaller economies. In 1988, MSCI released its emerging markets index, a now-widely-used benchmark for many institutional investors wanting access to growth markets. China and South Korea make up the majority of the benchmark, but smaller economies such as Poland, Chile and even Qatar make up other pieces of it.

[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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bcIMC Buys into Bottling Business with PAI in €1.623 Billion Takeover of Refresco

Dutch soft-drink bottler Refresco Group N.V. has agreed to a buyout offer for all 81.2 million of its shares from French private equity firm PAI Partners SAS (PAI) and Canadian pension manager British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) in exchange for €20 in cash per ordinary share for a total consideration of €1.623 billion. Refresco’s major shareholders, which includes 3i Group, and shareholding members of its boards, who represent 26.5% of outstanding shares, have said they stand behind the deal.

Refresco’s board rejected an initial offer from PAI in April 2017 of €1.4 billion, which they felt did not adequately capture the value added by their plans to bolster its presence in North America through the acquisition of Canadian bottler Cott TB, a deal that went through in July for US$ 1.25 billion.

[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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