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Exclusive: Saudi fund poised for launch

New $5.3 billion entity to invest in equity at home and abroad.

Saudi Arabia is close to announcing the strategy and business plan for a $5.3 billion new state investment vehicle.

"Hopefully the board of directors of this company will be formed very soon," says Mansour Al Maiman, secretary general of the entity's parent, the Public Investment Fund, in an exclusive interview with Euromoney.

The new concern will be able to invest in assets, including companies' equity, directly and indirectly, abroad, as well as within Saudi Arabia. The chairman of the board will be the minister of finance, Ibrahim Al Assaf. Board members will consist of people with experience in finance and investment banking, as well as other fields, working independently of the state, according to Al Maiman.

"The aim of the company is to participate in owning shareholder equity in viable projects whether inside or outside the country and to promote the return on those assets," says Al Maiman.

The firm will be 100% owned by Al Maiman's organisation, the Public Investment Fund, a 38 year-old offshoot of the ministry of finance. The Public Investment Fund receives allocations from the ministry of finance, but concentrates on part financing long-term commercial projects within Saudi Arabia.

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