SWFs Go Big

Ashby Monk

Monitor has just released its third annual report on SWF activity. And, once again, it’s well worth a read. It includes quite a bit of detail on the transactions that have taken place over the past year. And, as a bonus, it has some interesting short articles from a variety of contributors. For example, if you flip to page 54, you’ll see the piece I wrote with Monitor’s Victoria Barbary and the African Development Bank’s Thouraya Triki entitled “The New Investment Frontier: SWFs Investment in Africa”.

Anyway, the report is chock full of interesting data and insights. Here are the findings I was most interested to see:

  • ‘During 2010, 21 of the 30 funds in the Monitor-FEEM Transaction Database executed 172 publicly reported investments valued at $52.7 billion.
  • Banking, insurance and trading companies received a total of $20.4 billion in 50 investments — 39 percent of the total annual value of transacionts.
  • SWFs also invested heavily in commodities — coal, petroleum, natural gas, and metals — (26 investments, $6.9 billion), and ancillary industries — processing, renewable energy, energy transmission — (10 investments, $11 billion).
  • In 2010, developing economies accounted for 103 investments (60 percent), up from 72 (53 percent) in 2009. This trend was particularly evident in the second half of the year, when SWFs made 56 investments valued at $24.6 billion in emerging markets.
  • Singapore’s Temasek Holdings was 2010’s most active fund, making 38 investments, followed by the China Investment Corporation (23) and the Qatar Investment Authority (22).
  • QIA and CIC were the largest spenders accounting for $12.3 billion and $9.8 billion of investments, respectively.’

It is quite remarkable to see the size of deals some of these funds have made in the past year. For example, Mubadala made a single investment worth $7 billion. That’s nothing if not bold! Anyway, here’s the top ten biggest deals from the past year:

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This website is a project of Professor Gordon L. Clark and Dr. Ashby Monk of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Their research on sovereign wealth funds is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and The Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

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