Khazanah sees tech investment prospects after lucrative ventures

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 17): Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund that was an early investor in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, may seek more holdings in technology companies because prospects for the sector remain bright amid an uncertain global economy.

The fund is also looking at reducing its ownership in some listed companies later this year should the share prices continue to perform, Chief Financial Officer Faridah Bakar Ali said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Khazanah will have to carefully assess investments in innovation and technology as “economic conditions are getting more challenging,” Faridah said. She joins Singapore’s state investment companies Temasek Holdings Pte and GIC Pte in warning of tougher times ahead as investors worldwide grapple with inflated valuations and sluggish growth, with global stocks at record highs.

Khazanah may sell exchangeable bonds and is waiting “for the right window to tap the market” for an offering of at least US$300 million, Faridah said.

The state fund saw the net value of its investments fall 6.4% in 2016 from a year earlier. It has more than half its assets invested in Malaysia, including stakes in some of the country’s biggest companies from health care to infrastructure owners, and also has holdings in countries from China and Indonesia to regions such as North America.

Khazanah invested in e-commerce group Alibaba before its 2014 initial public offering. The sovereign fund said it made a RM3.9 billion (US$909 million) gain from the Chinese e-commerce leader’s IPO.

Khazanah also has a stake in Singapore-based Sea Ltd, Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup. Previously known as Garena, the company which started as an online gaming portal and later branched out to add mobile shopping and payment services, filed for a potential US initial public offering that could raise about US$1 billion, people familiar said in May.