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Norwegian FinMin: Sovereign Wealth Fund is Not a Political Tool

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The Norwegian Ministry of Finance issued a press release stating the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is “a financial investor, not a political policy tool.” Tensions have flared in the media and political scene, as the debate moves toward what Norway’s sovereign wealth fund should do when it comes to the environment and climate change. Green activists and some politicians demand the fund should divest from all coal or oil companies. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is funded by government oil & gas income among other sources.

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Norway is one of the few sovereign wealth funds that has a policy toward ESG principles. Green activist groups continue to put political pressure on the Norwegian government to forward their agenda.

In response, the Norwegian government has approached an “Expert Group” on how the institutional investor can tackle the issue of gas emissions from fossil fuel companies. In addition, the group will analyze whether ownership exclusion is more effective than exercising shareholder rights to affect change with the company.

Profile: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund invests in over 8,000 companies.

The Ministry of Finance reiterated in the press release, “The management objective of the GPFG is to maximise its long-term international purchasing power. This is the fundamental basis for the investment strategy. It rests on a premise both of inter-generational equality and saving for future government expenditure, and of avoiding over-heating of today’s domestic economy.”

Mergermarket Gets Ready to be Sold

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Private equity firm BC Partners hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on the sales of Acuris. Acuris is a collection of financial news and data sites, which includes Mergermarket, Dealreporter, and Debtwire. In 2017, BC Partners sold around a 30% stake in GIC Private Limited.

Before the rebranding to Acuris, Mergermarket was part of The Financial Times Group until 2013 when it was sold off to BC Partners.

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Why Japan Post Sees Promise in Aflac

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Aflac Inc. is an American insurance company founded in 1955. The company is the biggest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States. Aflac also has major operations in Japan.

In December 2018, Japan Post Holdings (JPHLF) signaled it was spending US$ 2.64 billion for a 7-8 % stake in Aflac. The goal is that, in four years time, Aflac will become an affiliate of Japan Post. Japan Post hopes to accomplish this by becoming the largest voting shareholder of the company. The world’s 13th largest company, with 400,000 employees, Japan Post needs to expand to chase further growth, mainly because Japan Post expects the postal business to decline. Diversification is seen as the optimal route to long term stability for the holding company. Japan’s economy is worrying. Japan’s aging population means that many insurance companies are facing a shrinking customer base, Japan Post settled on a plan to expand overseas.

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RDIF and Development Agency of Serbia Agree to Explore Joint Investments

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Development Agency of Serbia, also known as Razvojna agencija Srbije, reached an agreement to work together to identify attractive investment projects to strengthen bilateral economic ties and increase investment flows between Russia and Serbia. Russian capital and businesses are keen on investing in Serbia.

In addition, the two countries signed an agreement to cooperate on civil nuclear energy, according to state-owned Russian reactor builder Rosatom (Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation). Rosatom continues to expand it business of nuclear cooperation deals in a wide number of countries.

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