Oil Report

Libyan wealth fund has up to 23 pct of cash invested

ROME, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Libya’s sovereign wealth fund is worth more than $65 billion at present but has only up to 23 percent of its available cash funneled into investments, the fund’s chairman said.

Speaking to reporters after a dinner in Rome on Thursday, Libyan Investment Authority Chairman Abdulhafid Zlitni said the fund had less than 10 percent of its portfolio invested in Italy -- where it has bought stakes in oil company Eni and UniCredit.

The fund had a positive, albeit small, return on its investment in 2008, after a roughly 15 percent return on investment in 2007, Zlitni said.

Though the fund recently invested in Italian bank UniCredit, Zlitni said he found the banking sector not as attractive as other sectors for investment.

The fund is mainly seeking fair returns for its investments over the long term but will take board seats in companies when entitled because of the size of their shareholding, said Zlitni, who also is Libya’s planning minister.

Reporting by Deepa Babington; editing by Michael Roddy