Kuwait plans a new state-owned fund to manage as much as $100 billion in local assets with the goal of selling them to private investors in five to seven years, according to local media reports.
The new sovereign wealth fund will include local assets managed by Kuwait Investment Authority, which has been burdened by its domestic mandate and will focus more on its international portfolio. Stakes in local companies, as well as power and water projects, are expected be included in the new fund. A slump in oil is prompting energy producers across the Middle East to consider savings and project delays as they grapple with crude's descent to near a 12 year low. Saudi Arabia's net foreign assets dropped to $640 billion in October, the lowest level in three years, while Kuwaiti Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh (below), has raised the prospect of introducing income, corporate and sales taxes to compensate for lost oil revenue.
Kuwait's plan to privatize utilities while removing domestic energy subsidies is intended to make its power and water assets more profitable for the fund and attractive to potential investors.
Saudi Arabia is...