Istithmar not interested in banks for now - Emirates24|7

Istithmar not interested in banks for now


Dubai government investment agency Istithmar World has no plans to take advantage of tumbling bank sector prices by buying into troubled lenders, its vice chairman said on Wednesday.


"It is not part of our strategy to help capital build-up," Adel Al Shirawi told reporters at a business forum in Shanghai to encourage economic links between China and the United Arab Emirates.


He said Istithmar, which spent $1 billion on a 2.7 per cent stake in Standard Chartered in 2006, had no plans to take further equity stakes in banks for the moment.


Financial institutions like UBS, which announced a $19 billion writedown on Tuesday, were "not on our radar screen," Shirawi said.


But he said falling asset prices around the world meant that several sectors contained potentially attractive investment opportunities.


"We are watching the market, and if the investment makes financial sense, yes, we will move when the time is right," he said. "We are looking at all assets, we are not showing favour to any (particular) segment."


Istithmar is part of the Dubai World group that manages businesses and investments for the government of Dubai.


A number of Gulf sovereign funds and investment agencies have been pumping money into troubled US banks. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) and the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) are among sovereign wealth funds which have invested in banks such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. (Reuters)