BlackRock seeks to boost investment in UAE, Saudi Arabia

The New York-based group, which manages more than $10 trillion in assets, discussed with the UAE cooperation to strengthen investments in the future economy



Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, exchanging views with Larry Fink, founder, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock. — Supplied photo
Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, exchanging views with Larry Fink, founder, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock. — Supplied photo
by

Issac John

Published: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 6:10 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 6:14 PM

BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, is seeking more infrastructure deals in the GCC, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia and is also looking to invest in private companies in the region.

The New York-based group, which manages more than $10 trillion in assets, discussed with the UAE cooperation to strengthen investments in the future economy. Both sides also explored proactive strategies and solutions to turn UAE’s future sectors into attractive investment areas.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, met with Larry Fink, founder, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, one of the world’s leading providers of investment, advisory and risk management solutions, to discuss ways to enhance investments in various economic sectors in the next phase. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Investopia investment summit, which was held at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The minister emphasized Investopia’s prominent role in creating innovative and effective pathways that support the transition to the future economy and developing its various sectors, in addition to its role in stimulating international investments and accelerating innovation. He added that the summit will continue to explore partnerships with leading companies and global investment firms to develop innovative solutions in future investments.

The minister said cooperation with BlackRock will continue during the next phase to develop investment strategies in many economic areas. The most notable among them are increasing the diversity of the investment base in the country, enhancing the momentum of foreign trade, developing the UAE’s position as a sustainable tourism destination, and raising its attractiveness before international tourists through the development of investments, services, and new tourism solutions.

Stephen Cohen, head of BlackRock’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division, has been quoted by Reuters as saying that the asset management giant is also looking across the region for infrastructure investments and what he called “transition finance” to fund long-term sustainable energy projects that help to reduce carbon emissions.

He said the company is also looking at expanding its team in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It currently has 44 employees in the UAE and 15 in Saudi Arabia.

BlackRock recently led a consortium purchase of a $15.5 billion stake in Saudi Aramco’s gas pipelines company, having taken a stake in Abu Dhabi energy company Adnoc’s pipeline assets a couple of years earlier

“We’re looking at many of those types of opportunities,” Cohen said. Gulf oil producers are considering sales of stakes in energy assets and raising cash through long-term leases, capitalising on a rebound in crude oil prices to attract foreign investors, he noted.

When asked about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said Europe’s move to diversify its energy sources “naturally plays” to the strength of the Gulf region.

“Following the invasion, BlackRock moved quickly to suspend the purchase of any Russian securities. BlackRock is monitoring the direct and indirect impacts of the crisis and working with our clients to support them as they take appropriate investment action,” Cohen said.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, at a meeting with Eric Anziani, COO at Crypto.com. — Supplied photo
Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, at a meeting with Eric Anziani, COO at Crypto.com. — Supplied photo

Meanwhile, Al Marri also held a meeting with Eric Anziani, COO at Crypto.com, the leading cryptocurrency platform, during the first edition of Investopia summit.

The minister said the financial services sector, along with modern financial technology and digital solutions, are priorities to promote growth in line with the UAE’s new economic model, and in line with the ‘Principles of the 50’ and the UAE Centennial 2071. He noted that the country has achieved major strides in developing a legislative and institutional environment capable of supporting financial technologies, specifically digital and cryptocurrencies, which in turn promotes its position as a competitive regional and international destination that attracts companies and businesses operating in this sector.

The minister said the UAE is keen to expand its international partnerships with leading international companies in various new and future economic sectors. He added that Investopia will continue its collaboration with Crypto.com to develop digital and financial investments, as well as support its significant role in promoting the growth of UAE’s business environment and financial markets in the next stage.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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