BlackRock raises $673m for climate-focused infrastructure fund

BlackRock raises $673m for climate-focused infrastructure fund
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Updated 02 November 2021

BlackRock raises $673m for climate-focused infrastructure fund

BlackRock raises $673m for climate-focused infrastructure fund
  • The fund has a typical 10-year lock-up with a five-year investment period

BlackRock Inc told Reuters it has raised a target-beating $673 million for an infrastructure fund with backing from the French, German and Japanese governments to invest in climate-focused projects such as renewable energy in emerging markets.


The world's largest money manager hopes the fund, to be announced on Tuesday and dubbed the Climate Finance Partnership, will show how to mobilize private capital in developing countries to tackle climate change, a sticking point at United Nations climate talks under way in Glasgow. Investors have been wary of investing in risky projects without more certainty they will get a return.


State-owned development banks from France, Germany and Japan and philanthropic institutions such as the Grantham Environmental Trust and the Quadrivium Foundation are providing 20 percent of the fund's capital and have agreed to take losses before other investors.


While a number of multibillion-dollar renewable energy funds have been raised over the last year to help build out solar, wind and other projects, the vast bulk has been spent in richer countries offering investors lower risk.


in emerging economies, excluding Countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America will need around $1 trillion a year out to 2050 to help them transition to a low-carbon economy, BlackRock said. In 2020, just $150 million was invested China.


BlackRock and the fund's other backers are trying to muster more support for such emerging markets-focused initiatives at the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

The new fund could help developed nations meet a target of mobilizing $100 billion a year to help poorer countries tackle climate change.


Among the fund's 22 backers were French energy company TotalEnergies and institutional investors including AXA and Dai-ichi Life Insurance. The fund comfortably beat its fundraising target of $500 million, BlackRock said.


"This partnership is proof that governments, philanthropic organizations, and institutional investors can come together to mobilize capital at scale into emerging markets, which are most exposed to the impact of climate change," BlackRock Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Fink said in a statement.

Fink has previously called for linking public and private finance to address climate change.


The fund has a typical 10-year lock-up with a five-year investment period, with the average equity investment likely to be in the $25 million-$75 million range, David Giordano, global head of renewable power at BlackRock Alternative Investors, told Reuters.


"One of the key things that we talked about with our partners back in 2018, when we started down this path, was really coming up with something that was simple but did provide that sense of de-risking the emerging markets," Giordano said.


Kenya, Morocco and Egypt were all attractive for investment, as were Peru and Vietnam, where the government was "really committed" to the energy transition, Giordano said.


Renewable energy in non-OECD countries is expected to represent 49 percent of global energy capacity by 2050, Edwin Conway, global head of BlackRock Alternative Investors, said.


"Now, that's huge ... I think we're talking about decades, with regard to the opportunities that are ahead," Conway said.


Credit Suisse chairman resigns over COVID-19 breaches in new setback

Credit Suisse chairman resigns over COVID-19 breaches in new setback
Updated 11 sec ago

Credit Suisse chairman resigns over COVID-19 breaches in new setback

Credit Suisse chairman resigns over COVID-19 breaches in new setback

SINGAPORE: Credit Suisse Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio has quit following an internal probe into his personal conduct, including breaches of COVID-19 rules, raising questions over the embattled lender's new strategy as it tries to recover from a string of scandals.
This comes less than a year after Horta-Osorio was hired to help the bank deal with the implosion of collapsed investment firm Archegos and the insolvency of British supply chain finance company Greenshill Capital, even as it was still reeling from the 2020 exit of CEO Tidjane Thiam over a spying scandal.
Combined, these triggered multi-billion dollar losses and sackings at Switzerland's No.2 bank, and Horta-Osorio unveiled a new strategy in November to rein in its investment bankers and curb a freewheeling culture.
However, Horta-Osorio's personal conduct has recently come under scrutiny, with reports he breached COVID-19 quarantine rules.
"I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally," Horta-Osorio said in a statement issued by Credit Suisse on Monday.
"I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time," added Horta-Osorio, the former CEO of Lloyds.
Credit Suisse said Horta-Osorio resigned following an investigation commissioned by the board, and that board member Axel Lehmann had become its chairman with immediate effect.
"It has been in the 'damaged goods' section for a while now. While Horta was responsible for the new strategy, his short tenure means that the revamp is likely to only be in the nascent stages," said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at investment adviser United First Partners in Singapore.
"The irony of it is that Horta was hired to fix the reputational damage to Credit Suisse and revamp its risk taking culture in the bank," Tang added.
In December, Reuters reported that a preliminary internal bank investigation had found that Horta-Osorio attended the Wimbledon tennis finals in London in July without following Britain's quarantine rules.
Horta-Osorio also broke COVID-19 rules on a visit to Switzerland in November by leaving the country during a 10-day quarantine period, the bank said in December.
Public scrutiny of the actions of politicians and athletes has increased amid COVID-19 curbs as governments push to get their population vaccinated.
Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic flew out of Australia on Sunday after a court upheld the government's decision to cancel his visa, capping days of drama over the country's COVID-19 entry rules and his unvaccinated status.
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to resign after admitting he attended staff drinks during the May 2020 lockdown.

'WHAT A WASTE'
After Credit Suisse said Horta-Osorio had broken COVID-19 rules in late November, David Herro, deputy chairman at Harris, the third biggest investor in the bank, said the chairman still retained his absolute support.
Credit Suisse said on Monday that Lehmann, the board and the executive board would continue to implement the bank's strategy.
"We have set the right course with the new strategy and will continue to embed a stronger risk culture," Lehmann, who was elected to the board in October, said in the bank's statement.
Lehmann spent over 10 years at rival UBS, where his roles included helming its Swiss personal and corporate banking unit after nearly two decades at Zurich Insurance Group .
Reeling from a disastrous year, Credit Suisse posted a 21% fall in its third-quarter profit last year and warned of a loss for the final three months of 2021.
UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, however posted its highest quarterly profit in six years in the third quarter.
Credit Suisse shares have shed 23% over the past one year, while UBS shares have soared 33% to their highest in four years.
Horta-Osorio's sudden exit demoralised staff at Credit Suisse, with some questioning what was next for the bank.
"What a waste and again we make the headlines for the wrong reason," a senior Credit Suisse private banker said on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to media.
"In between we froze for one year waiting for the new strategy from the new man!" he said.


Saudi energy minister says he is always comfortable with crude oil prices

Saudi energy minister says he is always comfortable with crude oil prices
Updated 8 min 7 sec ago

Saudi energy minister says he is always comfortable with crude oil prices

Saudi energy minister says he is always comfortable with crude oil prices

RIYADH: Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said he is always comfortable with crude oil prices, adding that it is prerogative for US government to release crude from strategic reserves. 

 


Oil edges higher on tight supply, limited omicron impact

Oil edges higher on tight supply, limited omicron impact
Updated 35 min 48 sec ago

Oil edges higher on tight supply, limited omicron impact

Oil edges higher on tight supply, limited omicron impact

SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged up on Monday as investors bet supply will remain tight amid restrained output by major producers with global demand unperturbed by the omicron coronavirus variant.

Brent crude futures gained 9 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $86.15 a barrel by 0539 GMT. Earlier in the session, the contract touched its highest since Oct. 3, 2018 at $86.71.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $84.11 a barrel, after hitting $84.78, the highest since Nov. 10, 2021, earlier in the session.

The gains followed a rally last week when Brent rose more than 5 percent and WTI climbed over 6 percent.

Frantic oil buying, driven by supply outages and signs the omicron variant will not be as disruptive as feared for fuel demand, has pushed some crude grades to multi-year highs, suggesting the rally in Brent futures could be sustained a while longer, traders said.

“The bullish sentiment is continuing as (producer group) OPEC+ is not providing enough supply to meet strong global demand,” said Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at Fujitomi Securities Co. Ltd.

“If (investment) funds increase allocation weight for crude, prices could reach their highs of 2014,” he said.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, together known as OPEC+, are gradually relaxing output cuts implemented when demand collapsed in 2020.

But many smaller producers cannot raise supply and others have been wary of pumping too much oil in case of renewed COVID-19 setbacks.

“What comes in view next is the summer demand bump, especially in Europe and the US, which could be bigger than last year’s, if the growing hope around the omicron finally turning COVID from pandemic to endemic proves right,” said Vandana Hari, energy analyst at Vanda Insights.

Festering geopolitical threats to supply are also supporting bullish sentiment, Hari said.

US officials voiced fears on Friday that Russia was preparing to attack Ukraine if diplomacy failed. Russia, which has amassed 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, released pictures of its forces on the move.

The US government has held talks with several international energy companies on contingency plans for supplying natural gas to Europe if conflict between Russia and Ukraine disrupts Russian supplies, two US officials and two industry sources told Reuters on Friday.

US crude oil stockpiles, meanwhile, fell more than expected to their lowest since October 2018, but gasoline inventories surged due to weak demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Concerns over supply constraints outweighed the news of China’s possible oil release from reserves, Fujitomi analyst Tazawa said.

Sources told Reuters China plans to release oil reserves around the Lunar New Year holidays between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6 as part of a plan coordinated by the United States with other major consumers to reduce global prices. 


Here’s what you need to know before opening bell on Tadawul, January 17

Here’s what you need to know before opening bell on Tadawul, January 17
Updated 39 min 45 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know before opening bell on Tadawul, January 17

Here’s what you need to know before opening bell on Tadawul, January 17

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock market concluded six straight sessions in positive territory as optimistic market sentiment overshadowed growing omicron worries.

In the latest session, the main index TASI edged up to 12,110 points after reaching over 12,200 early in the morning, and the parallel Nomu market closed marginally higher at 26,288 points.

The Gulf was led by the Qatari index QSI which added 0.9 percent, followed by Bahrain’s BAX, up 0.6 percent.

Oman’s MSX30 went down by 0.6 percent, while Kuwait’s BKP index ended flat.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Egyptian index EGX30 dropped 1.5 percent.

In energy trading, Brent crude crossed $86 per barrel and US WTI crude oil reached $84.1 per barrel as of 8:43 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock news

  • ACWA POWER Co. appointed Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan as board chairman, and Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan as vice chairman for a three-year term
  • Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. has submitted a filing to the Capital Market Authority for capital decrease, followed by capital increase through rights issue of SR1 billion ($266 million)
  • Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp., or Spimaco, has signed an agreement with Swiss-based Vifor Pharma to locally manufacture a medicine, namely Ferinject
  • Al Rajhi Bank received the green light on completing an acquisition of Ejada Systems Company Ltd
  • Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance Co.'s merger with Alahli Takaful has been completed, as set out in the shareholder circular
  • Allied Cooperative Insurance Group’s rights issue trading was around 89 percent covered, the rump offering will start on Jan. 18

Calendar

Jan. 17, 2022

  • End of East Pipes Integrated Co.’s initial public offering book-building process
  • Start of Scientific and Medical Equipment House’s IPO book-building process
  • Saudi Automotive Co. will start paying out dividends of SR0.2 per share for the third quarter of 2021

Jan. 18, 2022

  • Alwasail Industrial Co. and AME Co. for Medical Supplies will debut their shares on Nomu
  • Subscription to Allied Cooperative Insurance Group’s unsubscribed shares starts

Jan. 19, 2022

  • Allied Cooperative Insurance Group’s rump offering ends

 


ACWA Power re-appoints Mohammad Abunayyan as Chairman till 2025

ACWA Power re-appoints Mohammad Abunayyan as Chairman till 2025
Updated 44 min 43 sec ago

ACWA Power re-appoints Mohammad Abunayyan as Chairman till 2025

ACWA Power re-appoints Mohammad Abunayyan as Chairman till 2025

RIYADH: ACWA Power Co. re-appointed Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan as Chairman of the board of directors for another three years, according to a bourse filing.

Suntharesan Padmanathan was appointed as Vice Chairman of the board, the company said in a statement to Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul.