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See How Much the Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund Has Invested in Russia

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Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of NBIM

Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of NBIM

Norway’s massive sovereign wealth fund is reviewing its portfolio allocation and risk profile on Russia. NBIM Chief Executive Officer Yngve Slyngstad told reporters in Oslo that in regard to Russian investments, “We are at any given time also considering conditions that have dimensions of geopolitics and geopolitical risk.”

Given the threat of sanctions from the West, institutional investors are growing cautious about their Russian investments. For example, in July 2013, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) acquired a stake in Moscow’s 2.2 million-sqft Metropolis Shopping and Entertainment Mall through the Hines CalPERS Russia Long Term Hold Fund. The price was reported to be in the US$ 1 billion range.

The nearly US$ 850 billion sovereign wealth fund as of December 31, 2013 has a US$ 7.9 billion exposure to Russia in fixed income and equity investments. In essence, a 0.9% direct exposure to Russian assets. Norway’s GPFG has essentially zero exposure to Ukrainian assets.

norwaySWF_russia_dec2013

Exposure to VTB Bank

During that time period, the sovereign fund owned a 4.6% equity interest in VTB Bank OJSC. VTB Bank is led by Andrey Kostin, a key member of Putin’s United Russia party. Kostin has been an advocate for turning VTB into an international bank, setting up offices in Singapore, Dubai, London and Hong Kong. The investment banking subsidiary, VTB Capital, is seeking to cutting its staff in London and New York following the rapid succession of events unfolding in the Ukraine.

In addition, Norway’s GPFG has equity exposure to state-owned Sberbank of Russia – the largest lender in Russia. Ukraine’s acting Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitskyi has accused Sberbank of “financing terrorism.” Sberbank denied the accusations.

NBIM’s Fixed Income Holdings in Russia

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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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