Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to buy BT shares

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to buy BT shares

22 June 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

Cover

Saudi Arabia's multi-million investment fund is reportedly building a stake in BT Group.

The news supposedly comes as the country is on the hunt for a bargain during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The $325bn Public Investment Fund (PIF), has reportedly been building a stake in BT on the open markets in recent weeks, with the telco currently trading at its lowest price in more than a decade.

BT as share price was just 118.55p as of Friday 19th June, down from a price of more than 200p in December 2019, a drop of almost 40%.

In May, BT published its full year 2019 results as well as its decision to suspend the 2019/20 final dividend and all dividends for 2020/21.

The company reported revenues of £22,905 million which was down 2% for the same period last year, due largely to impact of regulation, declines in legacy products, strategic reductions in low margin business and divestments.

At the same time the company announced its intention to suspend the 2019/20 final dividend and all dividends for 2020/21 due to the impact of Covid-19.

Later that month, the company confirmed that it was in talks with Macquarie and an unnamed sovereign wealth fund about taking an investment in Openreach, its last-mile fibre and copper company.

The money will be used to help Openreach fulfil the UK government’s goal to extend fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) to all homes in the country.

Last week PIF confirmed an investment of US$1.5 billion in Jio Platforms