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Gulf investors eye farm, infrastructure projects

Doha, June 2, 2009

Gulf Arab investors and sovereign wealth funds are pouring more cash into regional projects in renewable energy, farmland and infrastructure as focus turns to home, a PricewaterhouseCoopers partner said on Tuesday.

Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds and investors provided $500 million in initial funding to a multi-billion dollar regional infrastructure project in which PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) acted as an advisor, Stephen Anderson, a partner with PwC in Qatar said at an economic conference.

'It was fascinating to see their investment appetite,' said Anderson.

After suffering losses on investments in firms such as Citigroup, Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds are pumping billions of dollars into local industries such as banks and governments are boosting spending to avert an economic slowdown.

Gulf countries, mainly reliant on food imports, have also increased efforts over the last year to buy land in developing nations from Pakistan to the Philippines and Ethiopia, to help cater for a growing population.

Gulf investors are also eyeing acquisitions and mergers, including the banking industry, to help gain a bigger market share in the world's biggest oil-exporting region.

'Most GCC countries are overbanked. We see a trend toward pan-GCC players,' Anderson said.

'Banks here are starting also to flex their muscles internationally.'

PwC also expects an increase in Gulf Arab investments in Iraq and Iran, and in Britain's property market.-Reuters




Tags: economy | investment | finance | PricewaterhouseCoopers |

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