China's CIC eyes U.S. investment after fund with Goldman raised $2.5 billion

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund is scouting for long-term investment opportunities in the United States, an executive said, after a fund co-established with Goldman Sachs Group Inc raised $2.5 billion, half of the targeted amount.

The China-U.S. Industrial Cooperation Fund, launched in November 2017 on the sidelines of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing, has completed two investments in the United States, China Investment Corp (CIC) Chief Strategy Officer Zhao Haiying told Reuters on Wednesday.

The fund was launched with the aim of reaping returns from helping the U.S. firms that it invests in to expand their market in China.

It fell short of the initial $5 billion target, due to a change in strategy, according to a person with direct knowledge.

CIC declined to comment further. Goldman declined to comment.

Zhao said the fundraising went smoothly but CIC has no near-term plans to invest in a second fund with Goldman of a similar nature.

The joint fund first invested alongside Goldman to buy Boyd Corp, a Pleasanton, California-based manufacturer of rubber seals and gaskets, for $3 billion in September 2018, Reuters reported here in 2019.

It completed a second deal last year despite heightened trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies, Zhao said, without disclosing details.

CIC will keep watching for potential policy changes in the United States under the Biden administration and “continue to explore long-term opportunities,” Zhao said.

“As China’s sovereign wealth fund, we understand the China market well and can leverage that advantage to help bridge overseas companies with China,” she said.

CIC has been pursuing an overseas strategy by co-investing with private-equity fund managers such as France’s Eurazeo SE and Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc.

CIC also made several investments last year via its U.K.-China Cooperation Fund, Japan-China Capital Partners and two other cooperation funds with Italy and France, which it deemed “meaningful exploration,” Zhao said.

CIC’s committed investment in non-public markets hit a record high in 2020, with strong performance from asset classes such as real estate and private equity, Zhao said.

CIC has an unaudited return of over 12% on overseas investments last year, with its 10-year annualised return at over 6.6%.

Reporting by Cheng Leng, Ryan Woo in Beijing and Kane Wu in Hong Kong; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Christopher Cushing