Clearly, I have one of the most exciting jobs right now, to be part of investment activities in countries that are new to Nordic investors and that have such a strong development overall. The GCC countries are among the richest in the world, having the world’s largest reserves of oil and natural gas and vast fortunes, petrodollars, which they want to invest in the real economy. The region has seen a strong recovery since the financial crisis of 2008. It is also reflected in the development of the fund this year, with a rise by 13.5 percent so far. I toured the region last summer, and the overall impression is that things are moving forward steadily. Not least in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which we believe in very much.
I have invested about half of the fund’s capital in the banking and finance sector. It is a large and prosperous sector with low credit losses. I have two favorites here, two banks in Qatar. Investing in banks gives you a share of the country’s growth in a concrete way, as banks are exposed to the whole economy. For better or worse, but right now it looks good. As the world’s richest country, Qatar is always interesting to invest in, even if there is a limit on foreign ownership. But we have not reached this limit yet.
In this blog, I will continuously talk about things that affect the Fund in different ways – on my meetings with our portfolio companies, on the economic development in the region and my ongoing efforts to manage the Fund. I was also able to develop my thoughts in a recent article in the Swedish business magazine Affärsvärlden. Excerpts from the interview can be found here: http://www.dagensps.se/artiklar/2010/10/06/35653896/index.xml
Finally, if you are curious about the GCC region as such and want to read more about it until we meet again, more information can be found here: www.zawya.com