Kuwaiti investments in the UK amount to more than £17bn, as Kuwait holds shares in several companies, including British Petroleum, Vodafone, and HSBC.
The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has assets of £248.6bn and is one of the world’s largest funds.
The British investments of Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE amount to at least £140bn, which is five times greater than Russian investments in the United Kingdom.
Most of these investments like Kuwaiti investments are made by sovereign wealth funds, which include luxury real estate in London, shares in well-known family companies, and British media outlets.
Seizing the pandemic
The KIA added that some of these funds took advantage of the pandemic to search for cheap deals and seize new assets.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar made the largest investments in Britain, with a combined value of more than 100bn, followed by the UAE and Kuwait, with a total investment of more than £40bn.
While the Gulf states are investing heavily in Britain, British companies are also taking large stakes in the region, especially in energy and infrastructure projects.
Earlier this year, the KIA, the international arm of one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, stuck with its base in London despite a legal dispute with former managers at its U.K. office over accusations of inflated bonuses.
‘We have no plans to relocate our global operation to another city,’ the KIA said in a statement. ‘We place our trust and confidence in the U.K. courts to return the public funds and to honour the reputation of our colleagues who call the Kuwait Investment Office their home.’
The KIA manages the OPEC member’s General Reserve Fund, the government’s main budget financing source.
It’s the world’s oldest sovereign fund and has stakes in ports, airports and power distribution systems worldwide.