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Italy and the Gulf States Reinforce Economic Ties

The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), a major sovereign wealth fund in the Gulf, will invest €500 million into the Italian Strategic Fund (FSI), and through the fund into Italian companies. Specifically, the governments of Kuwait and Italy will create a company with a capital commitment of €2.5 billion, giving the FSI 80% control and the KIA 20%. The deal is earmarked for signatures in March 2014.

On February 4, 2014, in Kuwait City, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta announced the deal to the press. The committed capital will be used to assist and boost Italian enterprises.
To combat rising unemployment in Italy, public officials are courting Gulf investors to invest in Italy, to spur domestic economic growth and decrease government liabilities. Other major sovereign investors in Italy include the Qatar Investment Authority and the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Qatar

The government of Qatar is planning on continuing making major investments in Italy – especially in the sectors of tourism, energy and healthcare. A delegation from the Qatar Investment Authority will visit Italy to analyze investment opportunities.

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta indicated Qatar could possibly invest in state-backed energy giant Eni SpA. There could be a possible capital injection for Eni to expand energy production. The mountainous Basilicata region of Italy is home to the Val’d Agri oil field, one of the biggest in Western Europe. The field is located in the Southern Apennines; Eni began production in 1996.

The Qatar Investment Authority invested a significant amount of capital in Spanish energy firm Repsol SA.

Asian Sovereign Funds Not Slowing Down on Tech Investing

According to data from SWFI’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, Asian sovereign funds invested US$ 6.05 billion directly into companies and assets in the information technology sector from Jan 2017 to November 22, 2017. In a comparable time frame from Jan 2016 to November 22, 2016, this same group of Asian sovereign funds directly invested US$ 5.02 billion in the sector. These are direct investments, not fund commitments or manager allocations.

Asian sovereign funds such as GIC Private Limited, Temasek Holdings and the Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) have demonstrated bullish signals to the technology community over other sectors. GIC and Temasek have also been major investors in the private side of deals, funding a wide range of tech startups, while providing financial firepower in buyout transactions.

Some notable direct tech investments in 2017 by sovereign funds include Meituan-Dianping, SoundCloud, Nets A/S, Visma AS, Turn, Inc. and Vantiv.

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Future Fund Makes a Guardian Out of Former J.P. Morgan ANZ Chair

The Australian government has appointed Robert Priestley – current non-executive chair of J.P Morgan for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and a non-executive director of ASX – to serve on the Future Fund Board of Guardians for a five-year term from November 7, 2017. Priestley replaces former Morgan Stanley Australia chief executive Steven J. Harker.

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Associated British Ports Reboots Property Development Arm to Capitalize on Land Bank

Associated British Ports (ABP) – operator of 21 major ports throughout the United Kingdom – has announced a reboot of its ABP Property division, complete with a new team of specialists in commercial development and logistics led by Huw Turner, in order to identify and develop strategically significant locations in its 2,372 acre land bank.

ABP is owned in large part by a consortium of pensions and sovereign funds, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) at 33.88% ownership, OMERS at 30%, Singapore’s GIC Ventures Pte Ltd at 20.00% ownership, and the Kuwait Investment Authority at 10.00% ownership. Large institutional investors such as sovereign funds, pensions, and endowments have slowly increased allocation towards infrastructure over the past six years as an alternative to equities and bonds, according to asset allocation data from SWFI.

Plans

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