Mubadala to invest €1bn in French investment fund, French finance minister says

The fund aims to raise €10bn to invest in about 15 listed companies

French Finance and Economy minister Bruno Le Maire gestures as he addresses a press conference alongside the US Treasury Secretary at The Economy Ministry in Paris on February 27, 2019. / AFP / ERIC PIERMONT
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Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment arm, will invest 1 billion euros (Dh3.98bn) in the French investment fund that will be managed by the country’s national investment bank, Bpifrance.

“This is a very important agreement and a clear signal of the quality of the relationship between the UAE and France,” said Bruno Le Maire, French minister of the economy and finance.

“Thanks to the support of the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, the French investment fund will be a success and will help us to develop the biggest companies in France and to guarantee to those companies better stability,” Mr Le Maire added while speaking to the reporters in Abu Dhabi.

The LAC I fund aims to raise €10bn that will be earmarked for investments in about 15 listed companies taken from a large pool of France’s leading corporations over the next decade.

“Mubadala has a strong track record of performance in France and we continue to see significant investment opportunities in the market," said Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, chief executive of Mubadala’s alternative investments and infrastructure platform and Mubadala’s deputy group chief executive.

"Through our partnership with Bpifrance, and the commitment to the LAC I fund, we will have access to exceptional businesses in France that deliver compelling returns."

To a question on Lebanon's economic crisis, Mr Le Maire said France is ready to help the country come out of its worst economic crisis in three decades.

“For the time being, we are in the process of assessing the situation and trying to find the best solution," he said. "But you know, how close Lebanon and France are, we are as always willing to support Lebanon and help a friend to go out of this very difficult, economic and financial situation.”

“We have to find the right balance between, on the one hand, the structural reforms that are clearly needed to help in building the economic recovery of Lebanon and on the other hand, the financial support. That is the balance we needed to find, either at the bilateral level or at the multilateral level.”

The Lebanese economy has entered its third consecutive year of negative growth and its public debt has risen to unsustainable levels. In the period from 2011-19, real GDP growth averaged only 0.5 per cent, the current account deficit exceeded 21 per cent of GDP, and the fiscal deficit reached 9 per cent of its gross domestic product. Public debt increased to unsustainable levels, rising from 131 per cent of GDP in 2012 to 164 per cent of GDP at end-2019, according to the latest IIF report.

If the unprecedented political and economic crisis continues for another six months, policymakers in Lebanon would have to ask the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package.