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SWFI First Read, December 28, 2016

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Actis Disposes Remaining Stake in Umeme

London-based Actis, through its holding entity Umeme Holdings Limited (UHL), disposed its entire 14.3% minority stake, some 232,214,521 shares, in Uganda-based Umeme Ltd, an electricity distribution and supply company. Actis sold an over-subscribed block of 12% in Umeme to institutional investors including the Uganda National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as well as a number of international funds; subsequently, the remaining 2.3% stake was offered to domestic retail investors and Umeme management. In 2005, Actis, through UHL, originally invested in Umeme. In November 2012, UHL sold 39.9% of its stake in Umeme through an initial public offering (IPO) on the Uganda Securities Exchange. As of June 30, 2014, the Uganda National Social Security Fund had 231,722,771 shares in Umeme, owning 14.27% of Umeme at the time.

QIA Seeks to Refinance Milan Porta Nuova Properties

The cash-rich Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has extensive exposure to a number of large properties in Milan. The QIA seeks to refinance its debts on two Milan properties in Porta Nuova, Milano Porta Garibaldi and Varesine. QIA has around a €1 billion in lines of credit from several banks including Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, Banca Popolare di Milano, BNP Paribas, and UniCredit. Mediobanca is the financial advisor for QIA regarding the refinancing.

Toshiba Corporation to Face Massive Write-Down on U.S. Nuclear Unit

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Cryptocurrencies Creep into the Middle East

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Banking behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase disclosed its own digital currency called JPM Coin. The digital token will be used to settle payments between clients. JPM Coin will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and be based off Quorum. Quorum is J.P. Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. JPM Coin plans to compete with Ripple, which created XRP, another digital currency that is used for settlements. Ripple’s main target market is cross-border payments and remittances.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have unveiled their plans for Aber, an interbank digital currency. Both banks have indicated that Aber will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies. It will be rolled out on a probational basis, and used by select banks within the two countries. A date for rollout has not yet been declared. A joint statement hinted at a broader application of the currency in the days ahead. If “no technical obstacles are encountered, economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.”‏ Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies will be employed. The plan is for ‘Proof-of-Concept’ testing, which involves studying and fully comprehending the ways modern technologies can achieve practical applications. The digital currency has the potential to become a reserve system for central payments.

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CPPIB Inks Partnership Vehicle with La Française and its Shareholder CMNE

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La Française and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) formed a strategic partnership for the launch of a real estate investment and development vehicle: Société Foncière et Immobilière du Grand Paris. The joint venture between CPPIB (80%) and Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) (20%), La Française’s shareholder, will invest in major real estate projects linked to the Grand Paris infrastructure in the Greater Paris area. The parties will initially allocate €387.5 million in equity to the venture. The partnership will target regeneration and infrastructure-led investments.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norges Bank Governor Voices Opinion on Relaxing SWF Withdrawals over Specific Uses

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Øystein Olsen, the Governor of Norges Bank, which oversees the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), voiced his opinion on the Norwegian government’s plans to alter the rules that regulates the country’s SWF withdrawal rules in certain circumstances. The coalition government led by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wants to relax the limits on SWF withdrawals in specific cases. Norway’s government seeks to raid the fund to pay for the replacement of four major state buildings impacted by a terrorist attack and a crashed Royal Norwegian Navy frigate (KNM Helge Ingstad).

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