Weekly Digest: Saudi PIF mulls India office; FWD postpones IPO plans again

Saudi Arabia's PIF weighs India office; FWD postpones IPO plans again; AustralianSuper inks its largest European infra deal; Temasek inks deep-tech pact with local universities; Aviva sells stake in Singlife; and more.
Weekly Digest: Saudi PIF mulls India office; FWD postpones IPO plans again

The following briefs are curated from press releases and third-party media sources.


Saudi Arabia could set up an office of its sovereign wealth fund in India's Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), its investment minister said.

GIFT City is India's tax-neutral financial services centre and a key project for Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, with the aim of rivalling financial services centres in Dubai and Hong Kong.

"I will match your offer and commit today to open an office," Saudi investment minister Khalid Al-Falih said after India's trade minister Piyush Goyal invited Saudi Arabia to set up an office of its sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), in GIFT City.

Source: Reuters

FWD Group Holdings, the Hong Kong-based insurer backed by billionaire Richard Li Tzar-kai, has decided to postpone its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) for the second time due to ongoing market volatility.

The insurer, which marked its 10th anniversary in August, refiled its application to list on the city’s stock exchange in March this year. It aimed to use the proceeds from the IPO to support growth and the enhancement of its digital capabilities and strategy.

FWD first postponed its planned US$1 billion listing, originally filed in February 2022, in May last year, also due to market volatility.

“The [Hong Kong stock] market condition is not good,” said a source familiar with the matter, who added that the company is in no rush to list because it is financially strong.

Source: South China Morning Post

Australia's largest pension fund, AustralianSuper, said it would buy a minority stake in a major European data centre business for A$2.5 billion ($1.6 billion), its first significant investment into data centre platforms.

The A$300 billion AustralianSuper will join US investment manager DigitalBridge DBRG.N as a key shareholder in Vantage Data's Europe, Middle East and Africa business.

AustralianSuper Head of Infrastructure Nik Kemp said the investment was the fund's largest infrastructure deal in Europe and "would provide access to an attractive market that had delivered strong growth and returns in recent years."

Source: AustralianSuper



Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan will acquire the stakes of KKR and other shareholders in GreenCollar, a prominent Australian environmental markets platform.

Ontario Teachers' will take a majority stake in the company. The C$249.8 billion ($185 billion) Canadian pension fund first became an investor in GreenCollar in March 2022.

James Schultz, CEO and co-founder of GreenCollar, will continue to lead the business and retain a significant ownership share. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Source: Ontario Teachers'

HESTA has committed A$100 million ($65 million) to a new build-to-rent (BTR) project in Melbourne in partnership with Super Housing Partnerships.

The BTR project is set to be the first of many for the Super Housing Partnerships. 

The project aims to provide stable, long-term returns to members through meeting community demand for affordable and social housing, which will also have a lasting, tangible positive social impact.

Debby Blakey, the CEO of HESTA, said this project exemplifies the opportunity for the superannuation industry to collaborate and contribute towards resolving Australia's housing crisis.

Source: HESTA


China will make it easier for insurance companies to invest in domestic stocks, the latest in a series of measures aimed at shoring up market sentiment.

The risk weighting will be lowered for insurer investments in CSI 300 Index components as well as stocks listed on the STAR market, according to new rules issued by China’s National Administration of Financial Regulation.

The minimum capital requirements for insurers will also be cut, according to a statement.

The risk weighting for CSI300 Index constituents wil be reduced to 0.3 from 0.35, while that for stocks listed on Shanghai's tech-focused STAR Market would be cut to 0.4, from 0.45.

Source: National Administration of Financial Regulation

Wang Bin, former Party chief and chairman of China Life Insurance, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on Sept 12 for taking bribes of about Rmb325 million ($44.6 million) and concealing overseas deposits of about Rmb56.4 million ($7.7 million).

After the reprieve, Wang's death sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment. During his life imprisonment, he will not be eligible for parole or sentence reduction, according to the verdict issued by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Shandong province.

Wang was placed under investigation in January 2022, before being arrested and expelled from the Communist Party.

Source: China Central Television

The Chinese regulator has approved the takeover of embattled property developer China Evergrande Group’s insurance business by a new state-owned vehicle.

The National Administration of Financial Regulation said the entire business and related assets and liabilities of Evergrande Life Insurance will be transferred to Haigang Life Insurance, a new entity set up with capital from five state entities under the supervision of a Shenzhen regulator.

Its registered capital is Rmb15 billion ($2 billion).

Source: Securities Times


The governments of Dubai and Hong Kong have signed an agreement to establish an economic corridor for promoting cross-border trading, family offices, fintech and green finance, according to a statement from the Middle East government on Sept 14.

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the two-day Belt and Road Summit which was held in Hong Kong last week.

“This landmark agreement MOU is aligned with the financial services priorities of both cities’ governments,” said Hadi Badri, CEO of Dubai Economic Development Corporation, part of DET.

Source: South China Morning Post


Reliance Retail is in talks with existing investors including the sovereign wealth funds of Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia for combined new investments of around $1.5 billion, three sources with direct knowledge of the plan said.

Reliance Retail is India's largest retailer and is led by Asia's richest person Mukesh Ambani.

The talks with investors are part of an internal target to raise $3.5 billion which the company wants to close by the end September, Reuters reported earlier.

Qatar Investment Authority announced a $1 billion investment while KKR announced a $250 million investment  in Reliance Retail in recent weeks.

Source: Reuters


Korea Post has announced French asset management firm Ardian and British private equity firm Pantheon as preferred bidders for a $400 million overseas infrastructure mandate that can be divided by up to two managers.

The mandate is structured as a closed-end commingled fund or a separately managed account, with at least 70% of assets allocated to North America and Western Europe. 

The investment period will initially be five years, with the option of extending to seven years. The targeted internal rate of return is a minimum of 7%.

Source: Korea Post


Temasek, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to participate in a S$75 million (US$55 million) pilot programme to accelerate the creation of successful deep tech start-ups from the research pipeline at NTU and NUS.

NTU and NUS will develop a common intellectual property licensing framework to expedite the licensing and translation of university technologies for spin-off companies. 

Temasek will invest S$65 million ($48 million), mostly through Xora Innovation, an early-stage deep tech investing platform of Temasek, while NTU and NUS will each invest S$5 million ($3.7 million) in this effort.

The three entities hope to speed up commercialisation of deep-tech ventures with this MoU.

Source: Temasek

A philanthropic group launched with the backing of Singapore’s Temasek Trust and some of the world’s richest families has attracted $777 million in pledges, underscoring the rising interest in Asia-related charity.

The Philanthropy Asia Alliance, whose early core members include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dalio Philanthropies and Li Ka-Shing Foundation, said it’s attracted more than 80 members and partners from across the globe.

Singapore is trying to become a hub for philanthropy following Asia’s explosion in wealth, while a growing number of families seeks to establish their foundations.

Source: Bloomberg

Aviva Group has entered an agreement to sell its 25.9% stake in Singlife to Sumitomo Life Insurance, according to a statement.

Valued at £800 million ($997 million), the deal includes the acquisition of two debt instruments held by Aviva, including reset subordinated perpetual capital securities issued by Singlife.

Sumitomo Life will boost its stake in Singlife from the current 23.2 percent, though the exact ownership size after the transaction will vary depending on other shareholders at the Singaporean insurer. According to Sumitomo Life, the deal is expected to improve the earnings of its international portfolio and business sustainability.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Source: Sumitomo Life


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. urged business executives in Singapore to explore the Philippines as an investment hub using the Maharlika Investment Fund.

Marcos made his comments at the 10th Asia Summit by the Milken Institute in Singapore. In July, the President in July signed into law the MIF, which will tap state assets for investment ventures to generate additional public funds.

"We have also recently launched our own sovereign wealth fund, the Maharlika Investment Fund. The fund is designed to consolidate investible funds from government financial institutions to further drive economic development through strategic investments both domestically and overseas," Marcos said.

Marcos said that in terms of areas for investment, the Philippines offers a myriad of opportunities across various sectors, from digital and renewable energy to manufacturing and tourism.

Source: GMA News Online

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