Invest AD Eyes China for Co-investment

DUBAI — The Abu Dhabi government-owned Invest AD is in talks with a number of state-backed and private investors in China about jointly investing in the Middle East and Africa, a top executive said on Monday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Tue 26 Jan 2010, 11:17 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:27 AM

The firm was looking for long-term partnerships with Chinese investors in areas such as infrastructure and financial services, Chief Executive Officer Nazem Fawwaz Al Kudsi told Reuters in an interview during his stay in Beijing. “Recognising China’s global importance, it is crucial for us to establish a proper partnership with China in the MENA region,” Al Kudsi said, referring to the Middle East and North Africa region where his firm is most active.

China’s major state-owned investors include $300 billion sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC), the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the National Social Security Fund.

Al Kudsi did not say how much the Abu Dhabi fund was looking to invest in tandem with Chinese firms, nor did he disclose the identity of potential partners.

Growing business ties between China, the world’s third-biggest economy, and the oil-rich Middle East region provided a lot of scope for the development of investment ties, the 44-year-old executive said.

The Middle East and North Africa, with a population of about 400 million people, is undergoing a dramatic integration process but has under-invested in a number of areas, particularly in the infrastructure sector, he said.

Chinese companies, traditionally strong in building roads, bridges and railways, could contribute greatly to the construction of a logistics network in the region, he said.

“We think that is only one portion of the exciting opportunities for Chinese know-how and Chinese investment,” said Al Kudsi, who spent nearly two decades working for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

New look at Invest AD

In addition to managing a sovereign wealth fund, Invest AD launched an asset management arm for global investors last year. This new business line was expected to overtake the sovereign wealth fund to account for roughly 60 percent of total business in five years, Al Kudsi said. He was also bullish about growth prospects for the Middle East and North Africa. The International Monetary Fund has forecast GDP in the MENA region to grow 4.1 per cent in 2010. “We think this is way too conservative,” he said.

Invest AD, formerly known as the Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC), invests on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Abu Dhabi’s second sovereign wealth fund after the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

ADIC was set up in 1977 and has primarily invested in the MENA region. It changed its name to “Invest AD” in June 2009, in an effort to attract more international capital for joint investments.

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