Home Economy Businesses Flock to Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative

Businesses Flock to Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative

A woman arrives to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia has opened a major investment conference aimed at shining a spotlight on the country’s efforts to diversify its revenue streams and overhaul its economy and society.

At the heart of these reforms are plans to build the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. The kingdom hopes to do this by listing less than 5 percent of state-owned oil firm Aramco and transferring control of those funds to its Public Investment Fund, or PIF as its known. The fund grabbed headlines with a $3.5 billion investment in ride-hailing service Uber last year.

Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, is seen on a screen as she attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The conference, dubbed the Future Investment Initiative , starts Tuesday and runs for three days. It’s being attended by giants in the business world, corporate managers from some of the world’s largest firms and top Saudi officials.

Saudi Arabia’ Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country’s main sovereign wealth fund, expects to create over 20,000 jobs by 2020 through its projects, the fund’s managing director said on Tuesday.

As part of Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms announced last year, the Saudi government plans to expand the PIF, founded in 1971, to finance development projects in the country.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the country’s main sovereign wealth fund, targets annual returns ranging between 3 and 9 percent across its various portfolios in the long term, its managing director said on Tuesday.

Amin Nasser, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aramco arrives to the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Yasir al-Rumayyan, speaking at a major investment conference in Riyadh, added that some outlying assets could reach annual returns in the low teens.

PIF is benchmarking itself against a range of other funds, he added.

Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering is on track to take place next year, Saudi Arabia’s top sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday.

“Everything is on track. 2018 is our target. There is nothing that I know about that can take us off track,” Public Investment Fund Managing Director Yasir al-Rumayyan told a major investment conference in Riyadh.

Asked if the possible involvement of investors such as the Chinese would delay the IPO, Rumayyan said it would not.

Rumayyan sits on the board of Saudi Aramco.

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