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S. Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Co invested over $500m into Russia energy firms amid Ukraine invasion

August 15, 2022 at 7:36 pm

A view of a damaged residential building after Russian shelling in Oblast, Ukraine on 10 August 2022 [Metin Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia’s investment firm, Kingdom Holding Co, invested over $500 million into three major Russian energy companies as Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the firm’s filings have shown.

According to Kingdom Holding Co’s recently-released regulatory filings, the firm invested heavily in the three major Russian energy companies Gazprom, Rosneft, and Lukoil between February and March.

In February, the firm invested 1.37 billion riyals ($365 million) and 196 million riyals ($52 million) in in global depository receipts of Gazprom and Roseneft, and between that month and March invested 410 million riyals ($109 million) in Lukoil’s US depository receipts.

This is reportedly the first instance of Kingdom Holding Co – of which Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and its Chairman, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, owns 16.9 per cent – released the details of its investments.

READ: Saudi Arabia walks oil policy tightrope between Biden and Putin

With those significant investments into Russian energy firms, it is predicted that the Kingdom was likely seeking undervalued assets which could potentially expand. That strategy had worked with its investments in other companies which were formerly mino,r before reaching prestige in international markets, such as Citigroup and Apple.

Such investments into the Russian companies came at a time when Moscow launched its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, leading to many Western nations imposing heavy sanctions on the Kremlin, its affiliates and even Russian energy firms and their executives.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States’ position on the war in Ukraine has largely perplexed Western nations, which have urged them to impose similar sanctions on Russia. Riyadh and other States in the region have, however, maintained an openly neutral stance, as well as offering to mediate in the conflict.

READ: Arab neutrality over Ukraine is threatened by Western pressure to condemn Russia