In the early 1980s, the value of Kuwait Inc. government investments in Germany had also reached $3 billion, most of which was invested in the stock of 30 large German corporations, such as Volkswagon, Metallgesellschaft, Daimler Benz, Korf Stahl and Hoechst AG.
The Kuwait Inc. government’s first large investment in Germany was in 1972, when it purchased 14.6 percent of Daimler-Benz for $440 million. By 1991, Kuwait Inc.’s share of Daimler-Benz was valued at $3.5 billion. According to the OPEC’s Investments And The International Financial System book, Kuwait Inc.’s Daimler-Benz investment “aroused some opposition within Germany and led Kuwait to maintain a very low profile over the next several years,” although “unfavorable publicity did not prevent further large investments.” In 1975, for instance, Kuwait Inc. purchased 30 percent of Korf Stahl in Germany but did not publicly announce this new German investment until 1978.
The government of Kuwait Inc. also had a special influence in Spain during the early 1990s. According to the March 7, 1988 issue of Business Week, by 1988 the Kuwait Inc. government was “already Spain’s largest stock player with more than $2 billion sunk into Madrid since 1986.” While playing the Spanish stock market in the 1980s, the Kuwait Inc. government purchased 72 percent of Spain’s Grupo Torras chemical conglomerate. By 1990, Kuwait Inc.’s share of Grupo Torras was, alone, worth between $2 billion and $3 billion.
The government of Kuwait Inc. also had a special influence in Italy during the early 1990s. It owned a refinery in Naples and 2,000 Italian gas stations at that time. Under its Q8 label, it also operated at least 4,800 other gas stations in Europe.
The government of Kuwait Inc. also had a special influence in Japan during the early 1990s. Kuwait Inc. was the first OPEC nation to use its new oil wealth to start playing the Tokyo Stock Market in the 1970s. By the end of 1982, the government of Kuwait Inc., according to the OPEC’s Investments And The International Financial System book, owned between $2 billion and $3 billion worth of Japanese corporate stocks and bonds in such Japanese companies as Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Arabian Oil Company, Nippon Kogyo and Teikoku Sekiyo (an oil company that operates mainly inside Japan).
After 1986, according to Business Week’s March 7, 1988 issue, “Kuwait…earned more money from foreign investments than from oil exports.” According to Time magazine’s Dec. 24, 1990 issue, for instance, from its foreign investments in the United States, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and the rest of the globe, the Al-Sabah royal family’s Kuwait Inc. government was taking in “about $20 million a day” in late 1990—despite its homeland being temporarily occupied by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military machine at that time.
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