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Funds News

Mobius in talks for Iraq private equity investment

Influential emerging markets fund manager Mark Mobius said on Friday that he was in talks for private equity investments in Iraq. Mobius is pictured here in a file photo. REUTERS/handout

LONDON (Reuters) - Influential emerging markets fund manager Mark Mobius said on Friday that he was in talks for private equity investments in Iraq.

“We are looking at private equity in Iraq and are meeting with representatives in Iraq. There are smaller companies in manufacturing, the services and food industries that are keen for investment,” Mobius told Reuters over the telephone from Hong Kong.

Mobius, who oversees about $40 billion (20 billion pounds) in emerging markets assets at the Templeton Asset Management arm of Franklin Resources Inc. BEN.N, said the liquidity in the country's stock market remained too poor for listed equity investments.

Templeton’s private equity investments were mainly in China, Russia and India, Mobius said, adding that he was in the process of raising another $300 million in private equity targeted at emerging markets.

If Templeton moves ahead with its plans for Iraq, it would become among the first private-equity investors in the country since the U.S. invasion in 2003, said Jennifer Choi, director of research for the U.S.-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.

Few institutional investors have managed to overcome concerns over Iraq’s security situation despite the promise of its oil and gas resources. One of the few exceptions is Luxembourg-based Godvig Capital Management, whose hedge fund Babylon Fund is focused on Iraq.

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