REFILE-UPDATE 1-Franklin launches MidEast, North Africa fund

lunes 16 de junio de 2008 12:49 CEST

(Corrects to 17 times, from percent, in paragraph 11)

By Jeffrey Hodgson

HONG KONG, June 16 (Reuters) - Franklin Resources Inc (BEN.N: Cotización) said on Monday it was launching a new fund investing in the Middle East and North Africa, joining a growing number of money managers offering products geared to the energy rich region.

The Franklin MENA Fund will invest in markets including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

San Mateo, California-based Franklin, which operates as Franklin Templeton, said the fund will be managed by Stephen Dover but sub-advised by Algebra Capital Ltd, a Dubai-based fund manager in which Franklin acquired a 25 percent stake last year.

Franklin is one of the largest publicly traded U.S. mutual fund managers with more than $623 billion in assets under management at the end of May.

Algebra Chief Executive Ziad Makkawi told a media briefing that while high energy prices were positive for the region, more important was the willingness of governments to invest those oil revenues locally.

"This is the single most important driver of growth today, the money that's being spent on infrastructure, on schools, on diversification into other energy intensive industries, into services and so on," he said.

"This is what really makes us confident that this is not a short-term blip. This is a fundamental and structural change".   Continuación...