Thursday 31st July 2014
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TICKER - WEDNESDAY - JULY 30th: Avanti Mining Inc has entered into a debt financing mandate letter with a syndicate of six lenders to provide secured debt finance facilities worth $612m to develop the Kitsault molybdenum mine. Lenders include BNP Paribas, Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, Export Development Canada, Korea Development Bank, Mizuho Bank and UniCredit Bank. The facility set out in the term sheet is comprised of $500m senior debt for a term of 10.5 years, $42m in equipment finance for a term of 5 years and $70m in the form of standby cost over-run facilities for a term of 8 years. The interest rate is LIBOR based, loan repayments are semi-annual or quarterly (for equipment finance) and there are mandatory prepayment provisions of a portion of excess free cash flow. The facility will include customary provisions for a financing of this type, including fees, representations and warranties, covenants, events of default and security customary for this type of financing - Jupiter Fund Management reports strong investment performance with assets under management rising to £33.1bn, with the asset manager benefitting from net mutual fund inflows of £875m over the first half of this year. The firm says it has maintained operating margins above 50%. Maarten Slendebroek, chief executive, says “We are pleased with the progress being made on the implementation of our growth strategy during the first half of 2014. The Board’s intention to increase cash returns to shareholders through a combination of ordinary and special dividends reflects this progress and confidence in our future growth potential. We believe this approach will allow shareholders to participate in our organic growth story while receiving an attractive yield.” There will be an analyst presentation to discuss the results on July 30th at 9.00am at FTI Consulting, 200 Aldersgate, Aldersgate Street, London, EC1A 4HD and is also accessible via a live audiocast for those unable to attend in person - CME Clearing says it will remove the Exchange-For-Swap (EFS) identifier for all NYMEX, COMEX and DME exchange futures executed in accordance with CME Rule 538 (Exchange for Related Positions). CME products were removed from EFS eligibility in October of 2010, and CBT products were removed from EFS eligibility in July of 2012. With this final transition, EFS will no longer be a supported transaction type at CME. The EFS transaction type has been harmonized into, and falls under, the Exchange for Risk (EFR) transaction referenced in Rule 538. EFR transactions are privately negotiated transactions (PNT) and include the simultaneous exchange of an Exchange futures position for a corresponding OTC swap or other OTC instrument. In addition, NYMEX, COMEX and DME exchange products will continue to be eligible for Exchange for Physical (EFP) and Exchange of Options for Options (EOO) privately negotiated transactions. Currently, an EFS transaction is represented as a TrdTyp=”12” on TrdCaptRpt messages. Effective on the above date, the TrdTyp value for these transactions should be submitted as “11” (EFR). CME Clearing will reject any NYMEX, COMEX, or DME exchange privately negotiated futures message sent as an EFS. The trade will subsequently need to be resubmitted with a valid transaction type to CME Clearing. Additionally, CME Clearing will re-categorize the Exchange of Options for Options (EOO) transaction type for all CME, CBOT, NYMEX, COMEX, and DME products. Currently, an EOO is represented as an option on an exchange for swap (EFS) in clearing and on FIXML TrdCaptRpt messages. Going forward, an EOO transaction will be represented as an option on an Exchange for Risk (EFR) - Chi-X® Japan Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of alternative market operator Chi-X® Global Holdings LLC, says local brokers Yamawa Securities Co., Ltd. and Ark Securities Co Ltd., have commenced trading on Chi-X Japan, bringing the total number of trading participants to 23. Yamawa Securities and Ark Securities will access its market centre through Intertrade’s platform - The upgrade of the cities of Bogota and Medellin by Moody’s follows the upgrade on Colombia's sovereign ratings and reflects the close economic and operational links that these cities have with the central government. The rating action also reflects Bogota and Medellin's relatively solid financial metrics and moderate debt levels. The ratings assigned to both Bogota and Medellin are supported by their strong economic position in Colombia that includes a high level of own-source revenues and diversified local economies. The positive prospects of economic growth in the country translate in supportive conditions for both cities through higher local economic growth and own-source revenue growth. The assigned ratings also consider the close oversight that Colombia's central government exerts over the country's regional and local governments. Bogota and Medellin show solid governance and management practices that have supported historical low to moderate debt levels and moderate cash financing requirements, says the ratings agency. Between 2011 and 2013, Bogota's cash financing requirements averaged -5.7% of total revenues and net direct and indirect debt averaged 18.4% of total revenues. Medellin's cash financing requirements over the same period averaged -5.8% of total revenues and debt levels averaged 17.6% of total revenues.

Sovereign wealth funds investing locally

Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Sovereign wealth funds investing locally Sovereign governments and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are investing less internationally than they have done at any point in the last three years, according to the third annual Invesco Middle East Asset Management Study. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) sovereign states have deployed wealth into local economies throughout the Arab Spring and SWFs show signs of diverting away from international trophy assets and other global investments. The findings come as something of a surprise given the current penchant for some of the GCC’s most high profile SWFs to continue to invest in strategic companies abroad. However, says the study, sovereign wealth fund surpluses may reduce despite oil price rises as local investment continues. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Sovereign governments and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are investing less internationally than they have done at any point in the last three years, according to the third annual Invesco Middle East Asset Management Study. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) sovereign states have deployed wealth into local economies throughout the Arab Spring and SWFs show signs of diverting away from international trophy assets and other global investments. The findings come as something of a surprise given the current penchant for some of the GCC’s most high profile SWFs to continue to invest in strategic companies abroad. However, says the study, sovereign wealth fund surpluses may reduce despite oil price rises as local investment continues.

Invesco’s study has analysed sovereign revenues and defined the investment behaviours of major SWFs in the GCC region. These SWFs account for 35% of global SWF flows, representing $1.6 trn, a huge market which major global economies, including the UK, rely on for investment. This is Invesco’s third asset management study of the GCC region (comprising the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman). 

Invesco worked with independent strategy consultants NMG to conduct an in-depth market study based on over 100 face-to-face interviews on retail and institutional investor preferences across the GCC. The study shows the international flow of money directly from GCC sovereign governments and from SWFs has changed considerably in light of the current unrest, with large commodity-linked surpluses in these regions increasingly being put to use locally. (Please refer to Figure 1)

Even so, and despite stable and high oil prices, the available surplus, or investable assets, of governments in the GCC region is forecast to reduce by 9% in 2012 (compared to 2011) and surplus forecasts have been revised downwards since the Arab Spring, says the study. This is illustrated by the fact that forecast funding rates for the recipient SWFs have declined this year.

The findings of the survey look to undermine some of the latest news to emerge from the mega SWFs of the GCC. The Qatar Investment Authority, one of the largest and most diversified sovereign wealth funds in the GCC for example continues to veer from the norm. The latest news from the Gulf is that the SWF is about to increase its allocation to Shell, which will add to a growing roster of western investments by the fund. The Anglo-Dutch company declined to say what the size of the QIA holding is, but stock exchange rules in the United Kingdom meant that any stake over 3% will automatically trigger a public statement. Other reports suggest that the Qataris are in the middle of negotiations to buy a stake in Italian oil major ENI. It already holds a minority stake in Total, the French energy group. The QIA has also recently bought into Xstrata, as well as Barclays Bank.         

Moreover, Abu Dhabi’s normally secretive SWF opened up last October with the release of an official report which showed that the sovereign wealth fund remains diversified across all major global markets. Although over a year old, according to the report, ADIA’s assets are largely allocated to developed equity investments. With an estimated $350bn in assets, the fund allocates 60% of its total portfolio to externally-managed indexed funds. Overall, roughly 80% of the fund’s assets are invested by external fund managers. Allocations to developed equity markets constitute 35% to 45% of the fund’s portfolio. Emerging market equities make up 10% to 20%. Government bonds make up 10% to 20% of the portfolio.

In terms of geographic prevalence, ADIA allocates 35% to 50% in North America, 25% to 35% in Europe, 10% to 20% in developed Asia, and 15% to 25% in emerging markets, according to the report. However, Invesco’s latest study may point to a sea change. The Invesco study did not elucidate the detailed investment strategies of individual funds.        

There are other deals in train. Most recently new banking venture NBNK has  reportedly held talks with Middle Eastern SWFs to bolster its bid for 632 Lloyds branches that are up for sale, according to a recent Reuters news item; NBNK refused to com­ment. The venture was set up in 2010 by former Lloyd’s of London insurance head Peter Levene, aiming to bring com­petition to a market dominated by four lenders. It is run by former Barclays and Northern Rock executive Gary Hoffman. Separately, the UK’s Sunday Telegraph reported that NBNK had held discussions with Qatar Holdings and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala fund.

One of the fund’s subsidiaries, Mubadala Healthcare (a business unit of Mubadala Development Company) and Dubai Health Authority (DHA) have signed a memorandum of under­standing to discuss several key collab­or­ation areas that will facilitate knowledge-sharing, partnership initi­atives and improved access to care for patients in Dubai. The initial areas for collaboration outlined in the MOU relate specifically to three of Mubadala Healthcare’s facilities—Wooridul Spine Centre, Tawam Molecular Imaging Centre and National Reference Laboratory—and focus on the facili­tation of patient and laboratory test referrals, knowledge exchange and the inclusion of these facilities in the Gov­ernment of Dubai’s Enaya network.

While the investment approaches of the GCC SWFs remain mixed, one thing looks certain. According to Invesco’s study, in 2011 funding rates grew at 13% compared to an increase in GCC government revenue of 25%, this year funding rates rose just 8%, despite GCC government revenue increasing by 31%. Funding for sovereign pension funds on the other hand rose from 8% growth in 2011 to 13% growth in 2012. There is an expectation that spending will continue to increase over time potentially outstripping commodity prices and shrinking surpluses further.

Of the sovereign surplus that is available for SWFs, those with local objectives are expected to benefit. Invesco forecasts SWF assets invested in benchmark driven SWFs who prioritise international asset manager products or ETFs have fallen by 1% since the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011. At the same time sovereign wealth fund assets allocated to SWFs investing locally, in infrastructure for example, have risen by 10%7, which illustrates a major shift (see Figure 2).

Nick Tolchard, head of Invesco Middle East commented: “It’s clear that sovereign states are redirecting revenues and SWF assets from international investments back into the Middle East. The most common change across the region is money into local wage inflation, with healthcare and education a real focus for Saudi Arabia and Oman. Major infrastructure is a focus for Qatar due to the World Cup, and there are significant developments taking place in Abu Dhabi as it seeks to grow and set up as a major financial centre.”

Tolchard continues: “Western governments, including the UK, have approached SWFs from the Middle East to help with economic recovery, but many will fight a losing battle. There is certainly less money to invest internationally so the stakes are higher. Those courting GCC money from outside the region will only win with a deep understanding of what is driving the thinking of SWFs, and a long term commitment to building ­bi-lateral relationships which add value to their investment policy.”

Last year, Invesco created the first ever framework that categorises the core objectives of SWFs and revealed the drivers behind the investment strategy and preferences of these huge investment funds.

Last year, the study revealed that traditional investment SWFs (diversification vehicles and asset managers) appeared to be favouring developed markets, with around 54% of GCC SWF assets held in this region with the highest exposure to North America (29%) and to Western Europe (19%). Investment in North America is now down this year at 14% and Western Europe down at 6%, as a result of the Eurozone crisis. The clear shift in terms of geographic allocation of investment money has been towards the local region. Investment in assets related to the GCC moved up from 33% to 56%, with local bonds seeing a rise from 6% of SWF investable assets to 14%. Property and infrastructure have also take a large proportion of the investable assets from these SWFs, 13% and 14% respectively.

 “The story this year is that it is no longer a given that large sovereign governments are going to direct their oil revenue surpluses around the globe, pumping cash into other global economies. There will be high profile, strategic investments like the proposed RBS deal, or indeed other large trophy assets, but it’s a changed market. There will be contestable assets for fund managers in core relevant markets but with more money being deployed into the local economies it is likely to be a much more competitive landscape as long as the unrest continues,” says Tolchard.

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