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Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- China Investment Corp., the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, said it bought an 8.68 percent stake in Thames Water Utilities Ltd., the biggest U.K. biggest water and sewerage company.
CIC made the investment through a unit, it said in a statement on its website today, without giving further details. CIC, which managed $409.6 billion at the end of 2010, is the world’s fifth-largest government fund, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
Chairman Gao Xiqing said last month that the state fund has held talks with developed countries’ governments on investing in infrastructure projects by choosing “more than 10” major projects and opportunities in nations including the U.K., the U.S. and Canada.
Infrastructure in Europe and the U.S. “badly needs” more investments, CIC Chief Executive Officer Lou Jiwei wrote in the Financial Times on Nov. 28, pointing to China’s spending on such projects. The fund also said in November it may give “indirect” support to Europe through its investments.
Korea Investment Corp., the nation’s $43 billion sovereign wealth fund, said this week that European assets are “attractive” amid the region’s sovereign debt crisis. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the sovereign fund known as Adia, bought a 9.9 percent stake in Kemble Water Holdings Ltd., the parent of Thames Water Utilities, the National reported on Dec. 14. The report cited Macquarie Group Ltd., whose funds sold the stake.
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged to promote “major opportunities” for Chinese investments in the United Kingdom’s infrastructure on a visit to Beijing this week.
CIC is also increasing its foreign acquisitions. The fund will buy 25 percent of former South African politician Cyril Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Group for 2 billion rand ($252 million), the company said on Dec. 22. It also agreed to tie up with Singapore’s Global Logistic Properties Ltd. to buy 15 warehouses in Japan last month.
CIC was set up in 2007 with an initial $200 billion of capital from the nation’s finance ministry.
--Bonnie Cao. Editors: Linus Chua, Tomoko Yamazaki
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