China sovereign fund buys 45% stake in Russian oil company

10:17, October 17, 2009      

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China Investment Corporation (CIC), the nation's sovereign wealth fund, announced Friday that it had closed the first phase settlement for the purchase of a 45 percent stake in Nobel Oil Group.

The 300-million-dollar investment would be completed in two phases. In the first phase, which was completed by the end of September, CIC had spent 100 million U.S. dollars for holding the Russian oil company's stakes, and 50 million dollars for operating expense of the oil fields, according to the announcement.

It said that the remaining 150 million dollars would be paid off in the second phase, in nine months, to buy oil and gas reserves amounting 150 million barrels around existing ones.

When the purchase was done, CIC will hold 45 percent of the company's stake while the Russian company will own 50 percent and the rest 5 percent will go to a Hong Kong investor.

The was CIC' second move within one month to buy shares in overseas oil and gas companies. At the end of September, CIC paid 939 million U.S. dollars for a stake in Kazakhstan oil and gas company JSC KazMunaiGas Exploration Production (KMG EP).

Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with the Asian Development Bank, said that under the forecast of excessive fluidity and devaluation of the U.S. dollars, CIC's investment in bulk commodities like oil and gas would be a better option to mitigate risks in China's huge foreign exchange reserves.

These deals show that CIC is attaching more attention to resource commodities and intends to diversify its assets arrangement from its early preference of investing in financial sectors, said Chen Fengying, director of Institute of World Economic Studies under China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

Chen also said that future price hikes of resource commodities, resulting from devaluation of the dollars and recovery of the world economy, might bring better profits to CIC.

Launched in September 2007 with a registered capital of 200 billion U.S. dollars from China's huge foreign exchange reserves, CIC has been criticized for suffering book value losses after it purchased stakes in Blackstone Group and Morgan Stanley in 2007.

Source: Xinhua
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