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Sovereign Funds Embrace Direct Real Asset Deals

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The thirst for real assets has not abated for sovereign wealth funds. Clear statistics derived from the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute’s transaction database sheds light on the impact sovereign wealth funds have in acquiring investments in the real asset economy. The Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database has recorded over $600 billion worth of direct transactions made by sovereign funds. The increase in direct transactions reveals that large institutional investors like sovereign wealth funds have built up sufficient internal capacity to go out on their own. For the time being, there is no slowdown in sovereign wealth funds investing in real assets.

European core real estate is a chief driver for direct sovereign wealth fund transaction growth. $9.26 billion in direct sovereign wealth fund transactions were recorded in institutional real estate for the last half of 2012. In comparison, to the last half of 2011, $7.13 billion worth of direct transactions were recorded. Let’s not let Europe hog all the glory, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) purchased 49.9% of five U.S. office properties through a joint venture with TIAA-CREF – properties were valued at $1.2 billion. A secondary cause of the increase is the proliferation of sovereign wealth funds being engaged in developmental real estate – particularly with Gulf funds. Hudson Yards and CityCenterDC, two monstrously large U.S. developmental projects are examples of major deals.

Direct Sovereign Wealth Fund Transactions – Real Asset Sector – Click to Enlarge
Billions in USD
swftd_aug2013_selectrans

Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, August 2013

In the majority of cases, acquiring infrastructure without intermediaries takes longer than buying property. A smidge after the first quarter of 2013, Tawreed Investments Limited, a sovereign wealth enterprise of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, was part of a consortium including Industry Funds Management, Australian Super and QSuper to buy the lease on Port Botany and Port Kembla. Combined, the two port deals equaled AUD 5.07 billion.

For the time being, there is no slowdown in sovereign wealth funds investing in real assets.

Energy and Materials
Spiking in the first semester of 2012, energy-related transactions amounted to $7.53 billion. Singapore’s Temasek Holdings invested hundreds of millions in KrisEnergy, an upstream oil and gas company focusing on Southeast Asia. KrisEnergy started as a portfolio company backed by First Reserve Corporation. Shifting to material-related transactions, in the first half of 2013, it totaled $6.5 billion. By late June 2013, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund owned a little more than 3 percent of BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company. Another German chemical company in which the wealth fund owns a growing stake is The Linde Group.

Biogen and Eisai Battered by Markets Over Alzheimer’s Trial Fail

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Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen Inc. (BIIB) took a tumble of 28% in the morning of March 21st after it announced that it would cease its Phase 3 trials of Aducanumab. The therapy was intended to slow cognitive decline in patients with early onset Alzheimer’s. Biogen continued falling on March 22, 2019. Biogen and its Japanese development partner Eisai Co., Ltd. (ESALY) shared that the decision was based on results from an analysis conducted by an independent committee. The analysis determined that the trials were not going to demonstrate that Aducanumab could slow cognitive impairment. Eisai also fell 28% on the day, though it staged a relatively modest recovery on March 22nd. Some large institutional holders of Biogen include APG Asset Management (manager of Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP), Norges Bank Investment Management (manager of Norway Government Pension Fund Global), and Swiss National Bank.

The last time a treatment for Alzheimer’s made it to market was in 2003. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Italy’s CDP Inks Deals with Silk Road Fund and Bank of China

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China is building out its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to continental Europe. On March 23, 2019, in Rome, Cassa depositi e prestiti Spa (CDP), Snam Spa (Snam) and Silk Road Fund Co., Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aiming at exploring and evaluating common business opportunities. Under the MoU, CDP and the Silk Road Fund will facilitate cooperation by focusing on the potential investment opportunities in the following sectors: financial services, agriculture, food, technology, manufacturing, infrastructure and transportation, energy and white economy (healthcare and personal care assistance).

Originally part of ENI, Snam S.p.A. is an Italian natural gas infrastructure company. The Silk Road Fund and Snam will analyze possible collaboration initiatives in the area of natural gas infrastructure (pipelines, storage facilities, LNG infrastructure and biomethane plants) in support of the growth of the natural gas and biomethane sectors in China from a decarbonisation perspective. In its capacity of a national promotion institutions, CDP will look at co-financing initiatives that are consistent with its mission also in the fields of energy and sustainability.

Bank of China

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Angolan Government Recovers Assets from Quantum Global Investment Management

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The State Prosecutor’s Office of Angola said that the country has control of all financial and non-financial assets. The Angolan government claims it recovered US$ 3.35 billion of assets that were under the management of Swiss-based Quantum Global Investment Management AG. Quantum Global Investment Management was essentially the sole manager of assets for the Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA).[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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