Kuwait’s sov­er­eign 'fund' buys Stan­dard Char­tered Dubai tower

Arab Times - - BUSINESS -

DUBAI, Jan 7: Kuwait In­vest­ment Author­ity, one of the world’s largest sov­er­eign wealth funds, bought the Stan­dard Char­tered Plc tower in Dubai’s down­town dis­trict, sig­nalling in­vestor de­mand for in­come-gen­er­at­ing as­sets con­tin­ues even as oil de­clines and po­lit­i­cal ten­sions mount.

The 13-storey build­ing sold for about Dh650 mil­lion, Jim Os­borne, a found­ing part­ner of de­vel­oper Gulf Re­sources De­vel­op­ment & In­vest­ment, said in a phone in­ter­view on

bil­lion last year.

But while it could in­crease for­eign in­vestors’ in­ter­est in the Saudi stock ex­change, the sheer vol­ume of eq­uity could ini­tially weigh heav­ily on the mar­ket, which has a cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of $384 bil­lion.

Sal­man, who as chair­man of the pow­er­ful new Coun­cil of Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Af­fairs has broad author­ity over the econ­omy, said the gov­ern­ment would sell as­sets in a range of state firms, health­care, ed­u­ca­tion and some mil­i­tary in­dus­tries.

“It will de­crease some of the pres­sure Thurs­day. Calls and e-mails to the KIA and Stan­dard Char­tered weren’t re­turned.

The build­ing was among the first com­mer­cial tow­ers to be erected in Dubai in the af­ter­math of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis. Be­fore then, most de­vel­op­ers sold of­fice build­ings to mul­ti­ple own­ers, of­ten with a dif­fer­ent owner for each floor. Com­pa­nies shunned those build­ings and some started team­ing up with de­vel­op­ers to build suit­able tow­ers.

that the gov­ern­ment has, and some of them may cre­ate good profit.”

In­ter­na­tional in­vestors have be­come in­creas­ingly con­cerned about Riyadh’s abil­ity to cope with low oil prices in the long run; the riyal dropped to a record low against the US dol­lar in the for­wards mar­ket on Thurs­day.

But Sal­man said Saudi Ara­bia’s low debt and huge ar­ray of as­sets meant it could cope eas­ily with fi­nan­cial pres­sures. He said the gov­ern­ment planned to pro­vide state-owned funds with as­sets worth $400 bil­lion in the next few years.

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