Opportunities in Brazil spark interest in Kuwait

09 de novembro de 2017

São Paulo – A delegation organized by the Brazilian government met this Thursday (9) with executives from the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the local sovereign fund, in Kuwait City. The group is traveling the Gulf looking to bring investors into Brazil. “There are opportunities available. They are open to new projects,” the delegation’s chief Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas told ANBA over the phone. Freitas is the Projects Coordination secretary with the government’s Investment Partnership Project (PPI, in the Portuguese acronym).

According to Freitas, the KIA executives explained that the fund often makes overseas investments via private equity or through third-party funds. They revealed that some such partners are considering projects in Brazil. “They are very much aware of our projects,” Freitas said.

Brazil’s federal government plans to bring investors into infrastructure projects, concessions, state-owned asset sales, and privatization deals. Besides the PPI secretariat, the delegation comprises personnel from the Brazilian MInistry of Transportation, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Michel Alaby and Investments director Daniel Hannun.

The group also met with local bankers who discussed their views on Brazil’s current scenario and economic outlook. One such banker was Anwar Ali Al Mudhaf, who chairs the Board at ABC Brasil, a Brazilian bank whose majority shareholder is the Arab Banking Corporation (ABC). The ABC, in turn, is owned by entities including the KIA.

According to Freitas, Kuwaitis regard Brazil as a good place to invest, with strong potential, good foundations, solid institutionsand good opportunities, although they also mentioned the risks posed by the political scenario and the 2018 elections. There are misgivings as to whether the next administration will or not be pro-business.

The industries that Kuwaiti investors are interested in the most include renewable energies, stake purchases in state-run companies, and asset purchases from Petrobras.

“We will follow up [with the meetings] in order to convert opportunities into actual investment, so that the potential gets fulfilled and turned into actual deals,” said Freitas.

The Brazilians also met with staff from the state-run Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), which Freitas said intends to find foreign companies that can provide Kuwait with knowledge in healthcare, education, information technology, construction, and entertainment. The Gulf countries have a shared concern with diversifying their economies away from oil. “The Arab Brazilian Chamber plays a crucial role in being able to present companies that fit the bill,” said Freitas.

The delegates also visited the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), which invests in development-oriented projects in Arab countries, in addition to attending an event held by ambassador Norton Rapesta at the embassy of Brazil.

Besides Kuwait, the delegation has travelled to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Their trip will end next weekend in Doha, Qatar.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum