Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted at a trade link with Saudi Arabia as Indian magnate Gautam Adani takes over and promises to revamp the Haifa port, the country’s second largest.
The port will be a “boost for peace”, Mr Netanyahu said in the port’s official opening ceremony on January 31. “We're talking to our Arab neighbours, after the historical Abraham Accords, of connecting the railways of Saudi Arabia, through Jordan, to Haifa,” he said.
Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone joined forces with Israeli chemicals and logistics group Gadot in 2022 to win a tender to acquire the Haifa port at a cost of NIS4bn ($1.16bn).
“The Abraham Accord will be a game changer for Mediterranean sea logistics,” Mr Adani tweeted on January 31.
Signed in 2020 between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, the Abraham Accords normalise relationships between Israel and part of the Arab world, although Saudi Arabia was notably not part of the deal.
Mr Netanyahu has come under fire for controversial constitutional reforms that critics say will slash foreign investment, but in his speech he pointed to Mr Adani’s investment and said that “many other [investors] are doing the same”.
Mr Adani said at the same event that he would continue to invest in Israel and build up the city of Haifa, citing a history of “critical partnerships” with the country and a new artificial intelligence lab in Tel Aviv.
Canadian fund pauses China activity
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of the world’s biggest pensions funds, has said it will pause its direct private investments in Chinese assets, according to a Bloomberg report.
An unnamed source told the news service on January 31 that geopolitical risk was among the reasons behind the move.
“Given our ability to be flexible with asset allocation, our current focus is on listed securities, building value in our existing portfolio, and investing in public and private assets via fund partners versus through direct private investments,” a spokesman for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Dan Madge, told fDi .
The fund has $5bn-worth of assets invested in Chinese ventures currently, or 2% of its net investments, Mr Madge said.
“We have strong momentum in Asia and will continue seizing diversified investment opportunities in the region,” he added.
General Motors snaps up lithium mining chance
US car manufacturer General Motors (GM) has announced plans for a $650m equity investment in mining firm Lithium Americas to secure an offtake agreement for the lithium the latter is expected to produce in Nevada’s Thacker Pass mine, the biggest of its kind in the US.
Lithium, crucial for electric vehicle (EV) batteries but hard to process, has become increasingly sought after.
The lithium processed from the project, GM said in a statement on January 31, will power up to a million electric vehicles per year. GM has exclusive rights to the first phase of production and right of offer on the second.
“Our future production will increasingly draw from domestic resources like the site in Nevada we’re developing with Lithium Americas,” said GM chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Direct sourcing critical EV raw materials and components from suppliers in North America and free-trade-agreement countries helps make our supply chain more secure, helps us manage cell costs, and creates jobs.”