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Dubai govt investment arm eyeing China, says CEO

(SINGAPORE) Dubai government investment agency Istithmar is mulling investments in China, the Wall Street Journal quoted its chief executive as saying yesterday.

Istithmar comes under the umbrella of the state-owned Dubai World, which also includes DP World, a container port handler that was forced by lawmakers in the United States to sell its US assets over security concerns.

‘Everyone is aware of the backlash DP World faced in the US and as a result, sovereign wealth funds are looking towards non-developed markets to avoid such a backlash,’ Istithmar chief executive David Jackson was quoted as saying on the website of the Journal. ‘Countries such as China, where we recently opened an office, are very welcoming to sovereign wealth funds, so more are looking to invest there.’

DP World was forced to sell its US assets after agreeing to buy British ports and ferries group P&O for US $6.8 billion last year. P&O operated at six terminals in the US. Dubai World has a multi-billion dollar global portfolio, including P&O, US retailer Barney’s, a stake in the United Kingdom’s Standard Chartered banking group, and about US$20 billion in real estate assets around the world outside of Dubai.

‘There is a lack of trust in sovereign wealth funds and better initiatives are needed to curb such suspicions,’ Mr Jackson said. Asian and Middle Eastern sovereign funds have made headlines recently by acquiring stakes in major financial firms such as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and UBS.


Source: Reuters (Business Times 18 Jan 08)


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