Saudi-backed Vision Fund invests in UK’s Greensill Capital

Softbank group CEO Masayoshi Son delivers a speech during his company's financial results press conference at a hotel in Tokyo on May 9, 2019. (AFP/Charly Triballeau)
Updated 14 May 2019
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Saudi-backed Vision Fund invests in UK’s Greensill Capital

BENGALURU, India: Financing group Greensill Capital on Monday confirmed SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund has invested $800 million in the British company, a vote of confidence in the UK finance sector that has been navigating Brexit challenges.
Greensill, which provides supply chain funding to companies, said it plans to use the injection to accelerate its expansion into Brazil, and enter markets like China and India, as well as tap into the working capital finance sector.
The investment from the Vision Fund, which is one of the world’s biggest technology investment vehicles and has Saudi Arabia’s backing, comes months after it invested $390 million in British banking startup OakNorth.
Bloomberg reported on Sunday that the latest round of fundraising valued Greensill at $3.5 billion.
Greensill, founded in 2011 by former banking executive Lex Greensill, works with global institutional investors, providing financing to more than 8 million customers across 60 countries.
The fundraising at Greensill comes nearly a year after private equity firm General Atlantic invested $250 million in the company, according to a report.
“With the Vision Fund, Greensill will build on its partnership with General Atlantic to continue developing its already extensive global network, and further grow its established origination and distribution strategy,” Greensill said.
Morgan Stanley was the financial adviser to Greensill and Allen & Overy was its legal adviser.
The Vision Fund’s existing investments include those in ride-hailing pioneer Uber, chip designer ARM and shared workspace firm WeWork.


British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

Updated 23 May 2019
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British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

  • BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad
  • BA will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

ISLAMABAD: British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next week a decade after it suspended operations following a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian country.

BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital Islamabad that took place during a period of devastating Islamist militant violence in Pakistan.

Security has since improved, with militant attacks sharply down in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people, reviving Pakistan as a destination for tourist and investors.

“The final touches are coming together for the airline’s return ahead of the first flight on Sunday June 2,” British Airways said in a statement. It will launch a three-per-week service to London Heathrow, it said.

“We’re on board,” Pakistani Civil Aviation spokeswoman Farah Hussain said about the flights resumption.

BA, which is owned by Spanish-registered IAG, will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

At present, only loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies directly from Pakistan to Britain, but its ageing fleet of planes is a frequent source of complaints by passengers.

Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have a strong presence in Pakistan and have been eating into PIA’s dwindling market share. Turkish Airlines also lays on a regular service to Pakistan.

Islamabad has been running international advertising campaigns to rejuvenate its tourism sector, which was wiped out by Islamist violence that destabilised the country following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

“We hope customers in both the UK and Pakistan will enjoy the classically British service we offer, with thoughtful bespoke touches,” Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways, said in BA’s statement.

BA said there will be a halal meal option in every cabin and the airline would also ensure sauces in every meal do not contain alcohol or pork.