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SWFI First Read, February 12, 2018

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Temasek Holdings Eyes Data Center Business in Australia

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings is looking at a potential deal in Nextdc Limited, a data center company that is listed in Australia.

Warren Buffett Attempts to Build Insurance Business in the Gulf

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co., the commercial insurance unit of Warren Buffett’s empire, is setting up shop at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance already has offices in cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. The company hired Alessandro Cerase, a former American International Group (AIG) executive, to head its Dubai operations.

Kuwait Sovereign Wealth Eyes Irish Opportunities

Ireland’s Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon met with officials from the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). KIA is looking at opportunities in Ireland whether in real estate or technology.

SALIC Appoints Managing Director

Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) named Khaled Mohammed al-Aboodi as managing director, effective February 1, 2018. Previously, al-Aboodi was an executive at the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector. SALIC is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

PR Battle over CCCC International’s Takeover of Aecon

Canadian construction company Aecon Group Inc. is fighting a public relations battle over its proposed takeover by CCCC International Holding Limited for C$ 1.5 billion. CCCC International Holding made a bid in late 2017 to acquire Aecon. CCCC International Holding owns John Holland Group, an Australian construction business and Friede & Goldman, a U.S. engineering business. CCCC International is the financing platform for overseas business of China Communications Construction Company Limited.

Mubadala and SAMI Forge Ties to Explore Areas of Collaboration

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Mubadala Investment Company and Saudi Arabia Military Industries Company (SAMI), which is a defence company owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), agreed to a deal to partner and co-invest in defense manufacturing. This partnership grows defence ties between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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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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