Norway’s oil fund buys into Regent Street

Norway's Oil Fund has spent nearly a billion kroner ($160m) buying a second stake in the £2.8bn redevelopment of Regents Street by The Crown Estate, the company which manages the Queen of England's property portfolio.

Norway's oil fund buys into Regent Street
Quadrant 3 redevelopment - The Crown Estate
The fund, run by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), took a 25 percent stake in the Quadrant 3 scheme, a £390m redevelopment of an art-deco hotel, with surrounding buildings, at the south end of Regent Street. 
David Shaw, Head of the Regent Street Portfolio said: "The Quadrant 3 investment deal with NBIM is the twelfth and largest investment and development deal executed by the Regent Street Partnership since its formation some 30 months ago.
"We are extremely happy to be partnering with NBIM on our award winning Quadrant 3 investment and look forward to further growing this successful relationship in the future."
The fund aims to increase the share of property investments in its portfolio from some 0.9 percent of its value today, closer to its maximum allowed threshold of 5 per cent. 
Last month it paid $684m for a 45 per cent stake in New York's Times Square Tower.

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Norway oil fund loses 18 billion euros in first half of 2020

Norway's huge sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest, lost 188 billion kroner (18 billion euros, $21 billion) in the first half of the year as the global economy reels from the Covid-19 pandemic, the central bank said Tuesday.

Norway oil fund loses 18 billion euros in first half of 2020
Unusually empty slopes and ski lifts in Hemsedal in April. Photo: AFP

The fund, in which the Norwegian state's oil revenues are invested, was hit by plummeting share prices, with stocks accounting for 69.6 percent of its investments.

Its share portfolio posted a negative return of 6.8 percent in the first six months of the year.

At the end of June, the fund was valued at 10.4 trillion kroner (989 billion euros), up from the 9.98 trillion kroner seen at the end of the first quarter.

“The year started with optimism, but the outlook of the equity market quickly turned when the coronavirus started to spread globally,” the fund's deputy chief executive, Trond Grande, said in a statement.

“However, the sharp stock market decline of the first quarter was limited by a massive monetary and financial policy response,” he added.

Real estate investments, which represent 2.8 percent of the portfolio, also posted a negative return, of 1.6 percent, while bond investments, which account for 27.6 percent of assets, posted a gain of 5.1 percent.

“Even though markets recovered well in the second quarter, we are still witnessing considerable uncertainty,” Grande said.

The fund is meanwhile still mired in controversy over the appointment of a new chief executive.

Nicolai Tangen, a billionaire who founded the AKO Capital hedge fund in London, is due to take over the fund on September 1st, replacing Yngve Slyngstad who is retiring.

But critics have complained about Tangen's possible conflicts of interest, as well as his use of tax havens.

The central bank has meanwhile been criticised for irregularities in the recruitment process.

As a result, some major political parties are opposed to Tangen's appointment, and it remains up in the air.

READ ALSO: Norway's oil fund loses 1.3 trillion kroner ($125bn) in coronavirus crash