Kuwait sovereign fund’s UK unit to buy NSMP for $1.7bn

Kuwait skyline: Wren House, the London-based infrastructure investment arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), fought off rival bids to buy oil and gas pipeline firm North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP). (AFP)
Updated 23 July 2018
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Kuwait sovereign fund’s UK unit to buy NSMP for $1.7bn

  • London-based infrastructure investment arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority fought off rival bids to buy oil and gas pipeline firm
  • NSMP owns a 67 percent interest in the SIRGE pipeline that transports natural gas from the West of Shetlands basin

The British infrastructure arm of Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to buy oil and gas pipeline firm North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP) for around £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) from ArcLight Capital, according to two sources.
Wren House, the London-based infrastructure investment arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), fought off bids from JP Morgan, Blackstone, and private equity fund KKR to buy NSMP, according to one of the sources.
“Wren House was bidding against some very big players and they simply offered the best terms,” said the source. A spokesman for Wren House could not be reached for immediate comment.
Its bid was lower than one other but it offered better overall terms, according to one of the sources.
The current management team, including NSMP CEO Andy Heppel, will remain, the source said.
NSMP was valued at around £1.2 billion to £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion to $1.7 billion), the sources said.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised ArcLight on the transaction. Patrick de Loe, Merrill’s managing director of EMEA infrastructure, declined to comment.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was ArcLight’s legal adviser. Wren House was advised by Jefferies and Macquarie Capital. Its legal adviser was Slaughter and May.
The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranks KIA as the world’s fourth-biggest sovereign fund, managing $592 billion. Only Norway, China and United Arab Emirates have bigger sovereign funds.
Wren House is headed by Hakim Drissi Kaitouni, a former investment banker who worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London and New York.
Its other investments in the United Kingdom include stakes in Associated British Ports, London City Airport and Thames Water.
NSMP owns a 67 percent interest in the SIRGE pipeline that transports natural gas from the West of Shetlands basin and a 100 percent interest in the FUKA pipeline which transports gas from the SIRGE pipeline and various fields in the northern and central North Sea.
NSMP also owns the St. Fergus Gas Terminal and Teesside Gas Processing Plant. NSMP counts the Rhum gas field, in the North Sea and which is 50 percent owned by the Iranian Oil Company, among its clients.


Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

Participants watch a movie highlighting the Red Sea project at last year’s Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2018
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Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

  • The Future Investment Initiative is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China
  • The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen

RIYADH: A major investment show in Saudi Arabia is expected to attract thousands of delegates and see deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars — despite several largely “symbolic” last-minute cancelations by speakers.

The Future Investment Initiative, which starts on Tuesday, is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China, despite several executives, mostly Western, pulling out after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Many of those Western firms have however sent lower-level representatives or regional heads — with big business likely to be done, Saudi officials said.

Speakers from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia-China Investment Fund and electronics giant Samsung are all billed to speak at the event. They join Saudi speakers including Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and sports official Princess Reema bint Bandar. 

“Investing in transformation,” “technology as opportunity” and “advancing human potential” are among the FII’s themes. Held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, the three-day event is billed as a “blueprint for the 22nd century.”

Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” said many executives — notably those from Russia and further east — were still looking to do business at the event despite some having pulled out.

“I think the big pull-out of CEOs is not really reflective of the corporate interest in the Kingdom because we see them sending their next level of executives along. So to some degree it is symbolic,” she told Arab News. “In terms of attracting foreign investment, Saudi Arabia could have strategic leverage with Russia and China, and a unique opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies.”

John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Saudi Arabia, said he expected the event to be a success. 

“The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen,” he told Arab News.