Published: October 7, 2013
Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s billionaire prime minister, has announced the launch of a US$6bn private equity fund.
The Georgian Co-Investment Fund consists of US$1bn from the prime minister himself – a metals and banking billionaire – with the rest made up of high-profile investors such as Abu Dhabi Group, Turkey’s Calik Holdings and China’s Milestone International Holding.
The fund will focus mainly on projects associated with energy, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and infrastructure. George Bachiashvili, its CEO, has stated that it will prioritise projects worth more than US$5mn with the intention of investing for up to seven years, extendable by a maximum of two years.
Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition came to power in 2011 on a platform opposed to long-standing president Mikheil Saakashvili, who comes to the end of his term limit on October 27. Although Ivanishvili’s term as prime minister ends in 2016, he has said that he will stand down when his nemesis Saakashvili goes.
The fund is worth considerably more than the Georgian government’s budget and is equal to around 40% of the country’s GDP, stoking allegations that Ivanishvili will use this financial muscle to wield political influence even after he has left office.