Bahrain SWF delays major foreign investments

Investment focus on home market, but 50% exposure overseas remains long-term aim.
Bahrain SWF delays major foreign investments
By Martin Morris
Sun 29 Mar 2009 01:21 AM

Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund has delayed by a year plans to increase foreign investments to almost half its total assets and would instead focus on assets at home, its chief executive has said.In an interview with MEED magazine, reported by Emirates Business, CEO of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding, Talal Al Zain, said the implementation strategy has been 'slowed down'.

BMH announced in April plans to diversify its portfolio by raising foreign investment to 50 percent from more than two per cent.

Zain told Reuters earlier that Mumtalakat was not expected to divest its holdings in local firms this year because of low market valuations.

The fund, which has assets of about $10 billion under management, was not highly leveraged, and has a lot of liquidity available for new investments, Zain said.

"We have to decide if we want to start investing now or wait. We are happy to not get all of the potential upside while we wait for the global economy to stabilise, although for the right opportunity we will go into the market," Zain said.

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