Saudi sovereign fund expands footprint with Jordan investment firm

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Saudi Arabia's top sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday it was expanding its international presence by creating an investment firm that would pursue real estate, energy, tourism and infrastructure projects in Jordan.

The Public Investment Fund, founded in 1971 to finance development projects within Saudi Arabia, has traditionally served largely as a holding company for the government's stakes in Saudi companies.

But under Saudi economic reforms launched last year, the PIF is expanding abroad, investing in U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber and a global technology fund, and considering other investments ranging from a Kuwaiti food maker to German financial firms.

PIF said it owned 90 percent of the new investment firm with the remainder held by 15 Jordanian banks, including Arab Bank and Jordan Islamic Bank .

The company will initially have $10 million of capital which may rise in the long term to as much as $3 billion, it said.

"Our efforts include the development of a portfolio that has greater geographical diversification, is risk-adjusted across sectors and diversifies sources of income," PIF managing director Yasir al-Rumayyan said.

The PIF revealed its Jordanian venture as Saudi Arabia's King Salman visited Jordan. The state-run Saudi Press Agency said private Saudi and Jordanian companies signed a dozen agreements on business cooperation.

Saudi officials said last year that they aimed to expand the PIF eventually from $160 billion to about $2 trillion, making it the world's largest sovereign fund.

29/03/2017
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