Kuwait’s KIA Invests $750 Million in Blackrock

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) invested about $750 million in U.S. asset manager BlackRock (BLK.N) last year, and eyes investments in Asia and Latin America in 2010, KIA’s managing director told Al Arabiya TV. “Last May we invested in raising BlackRock’s capital, I think $750 million…and I think until now we made 40 percent of profit,” Bader al-Saad said in an interview aired on Sunday.

Saad also said that he still expected KIA to make a profit on its $2 billion investment in Bank of America (BAC.N), despite a current loss of between 30-40 percent on the investment.

Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund, which manages state assets in the world’s fourth-biggest oil exporter, has come under fire from some parliamentarians for investing $5 billion in Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch has since been bought by Bank of America.

In December, KIA sold its $3 billion stake in Citigroup Inc for a profit of $1.1 billion.

In May, Finance Minister Mustapha al-Shamali told Reuters that the Gulf state was not reducing its dollar assets and was keeping some liquid assets to meet its budget requirements. [ID:nLF953828]

“We are looking at countries with 8-10 percent growth…mainly Asia, and mainly developing countries in Asia, and then Latin America,” Saad told Arabiya when asked about regions KIA is eyeing for investments in 2010.

He said he expected KIA to post good results at the end of its fiscal year ending March 31.

“God willing this will be one of the best years,” Saad said.

The value of foreign assets managed by KIA fell by about 9 billion dinars ($31.58 billion) in the nine months to December 2008, due to the financial crisis, two lawmakers said in February 2009 after a government briefing. KIA managed assets worth about 49 billion dinars at Dec. 31 2008, the MPs said.

Since October 2008, KIA has reduced the exposure of its key Future Generation fund to global equities markets, shifting assets to cash funds, the government said in January 2009.

(Reporting by Eman Goma; Editing by David Cowell)