RIYADH, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Oman’s sovereign wealth fund, the Oman Investment Authority, is considering investing in the United Kingdom’s technology sector to take advantage of valuations hit by rising interest rates and falling sterling, the head of the OIA said on Wednesday.
Ibrahim Al Eisri, chief executive of private equity at OIA, told Reuters the wealth fund was looking at unlisted tech firms in the UK and scaling them up.
Britain’s economy is suffering a cost-of-living crisis as Rushdie Sunak becomes prime minister for the third time in two months on Tuesday.
“Given that the market is allowing entry right now, we are currently looking at some deals,” he said on the sidelines of FII, Saudi Arabia’s annual flagship investment conference.
Al Eysri said now is the best time to monetize assets compared to two years ago, adding that OIA had abandoned four investments outside Oman last year.
Regional oil giants Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC have raised tens of billions of dollars in recent years through IPOs, including the sale of several Aramco and ADNOC subsidiaries and joint ventures, as well as their stakes in pipeline infrastructure.
Oman plans to list 30 companies in the next five years, he said.
The Gulf is currently seeing an IPO boom, with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai pushing for state-led flotations to make their equity markets more competitive.
Issuers in the region raised more than $15 billion in IPOs through mid-October, according to Refinitiv data. Their gains outpaced European floats in the first half of the year, as data showed global markets remained volatile due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said two weeks ago, the OIA invited investors to look at opportunities in the mining sector and plans to do the same for the fisheries sector.
The fund is focused on alternative energy technology, logistics, and messenger RNA technology used in some COVID-19 vaccines. He said OIA is close to investing in Zanzibar port.
Reporting by Hadeel al-Sayegh in Riyadh; Written by Hadeel Al Sayeh and Yusuf Saba in Dubai; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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