DUBAI, March 20(Reuters) - Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has hired Rothschild’s top Middle East energy banker, Khodor Mattar, as it aims to beef up its oil and gas investments, a source familiar with the matter said.
Mattar, who currently heads the advisory firm’s Mideast and North Africa energy business in Dubai, has worked at Rothschild for 14 years. He moved from London in 2007 to advise on energy-related transactions.
At Temasek, Mattar will be part of the team responsible for investments in energy and resources sector, the source said speaking on condition of anonymity. Temasek’s investments in the sector accounted for just 3 percent of its portfolio at the end of March 2011, compared with 36 percent for financial services.
Temasek declined to comment. Rothschild was not immediately available for comment.
The Singaporean investment firm, which manages about $150 billion in assets, invested $600 million in Chesapeake Energy Corp in 2010 and $400 million in Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht.
Sovereign funds, hurt by investments in Western banks during the 2008 financial crisis, have moved away from financial services into new sectors such as commodities and infrastructure.
Last month, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, bought a 5 percent stake in commodities trader Bunge Ltd valued at $496 million in a sign that Asian state funds are increasing their bets on resources.
At Rothschild, Mattar advised on several prominent deals including the 3.3 billion euros ($4.37 billion) sale of Spanish bank Santander and utility Union Fenosa’s 37.5 percent stake in Cepsa to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co.
Most recently, he advised Bahrain-based IDB Fund on the sale of its 23.3 percent stake in Jordan’s Amman East power plant to Qatar Electricity & Water Co.
Rothschild was one of the advisers to the Dubai government on its $25 billion debt restructuring of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World.