DUBAI, March 28 Saudi Arabia's top sovereign
wealth fund said on Tuesday it was expanding its international
presence by creating an investment firm that would pursue real
estate, energy, tourism and infrastructure projects in Jordan.
The Public Investment Fund, founded in 1971 to finance
development projects within Saudi Arabia, has traditionally
served largely as a holding company for the government's stakes
in Saudi companies.
But under Saudi economic reforms launched last year, the PIF
is expanding abroad, investing in U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber
and a global technology fund, and considering other investments
ranging from a Kuwaiti food maker to German financial firms.
PIF said it owned 90 percent of the new investment firm with
the remainder held by 15 Jordanian banks, including Arab Bank
and Jordan Islamic Bank.
The company will initially have $10 million of capital which
may rise in the long term to as much as $3 billion, it said.
"Our efforts include the development of a portfolio that
has greater geographical diversification, is risk-adjusted
across sectors and diversifies sources of income," PIF managing
director Yasir al-Rumayyan said.
The PIF revealed its Jordanian venture as Saudi Arabia's
King Salman visited Jordan. The state-run Saudi Press Agency
said private Saudi and Jordanian companies signed a dozen
agreements on business cooperation.
Saudi officials said last year that they aimed to expand the
PIF eventually from $160 billion to about $2 trillion, making it
the world's largest sovereign fund.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Additional reporting by Celine
Aswad; Editing by Tom Heneghan)