Norway’s sovereign wealth fund saw double-digit property returns for the second year running, as investments overall grew by 7.6% and the largest European asset owner continued to gradually rebalance holdings away from the Continent.At the end of 2014, the Government Pension Fund Global said assets stood at NOK6.4trn (€706bn), up by NOK1.4trn over the course of the year.However, changes in the value of the kroner accounted for around half of the increase, and investment returns for only NOK544bn, according to the fund’s annual report.Additionally, on the back of a sharp decline in oil prices over the second half of 2014, the fund was only paid NOK151bn in oil revenue. The amount of revenue was significantly down compared with 2013’s transfer of NOK241bn and is the least money paid into the fund by the government since 2004, when a payment of NOK138bn accounted for two-thirds of the year’s revenue.When measured in international currency, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) said the fund returned 7.6% over the course of 2014.The figure increased dramatically when measured in kroner, with asset returns rising to 24.3%.Real estate returns, which stood at 10.4% last year, rose to 27.5% when measured in kroner – the fund’s single-best performance measured in either kroner or international currency in five years – while equities returned 7.9%.The increased kroner volatility came as the fund grew its exposure to emerging markets and their currencies.Compared with five years ago, the fund’s exposure to European equity and fixed income had fallen from more than 52% of assets to just 37.7%.The volatility boosted returns in fixed income, which overall stood at 6.9%.However, its largest single exposure, to US Treasuries, returned 7.3% when measured in international currency, growing to nearly 15% in kroner.According to the report, the fund increased the number of currencies in which it was invested by three to 47 – adding Ghanaian cedi, Mauritian rupee and Nigerian naira to its currency basket after both Ghana and Mauritius were added to the fund’s universe.Slovenia, in which NBIM also only began investing in 2014, accounted for the fund’s largest frontier-market holding by the end of the year, worth NOK4.8bn, while investments in Mauritius and Ghana were valued at NOK82m and NOK15m, respectively.Since the end of 2012, NBIM’s share of investments in Asia grew from 12.9% to 15.5% and exposure to Oceania and the Middle East rose by 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points to 2.3% and 0.3%, respectively.While NBIM’s holdings in Africa remained steady at 0.7% of total assets since 2012, the fund’s overall value increased by NOK2.6trn over the same period.The fund also continued to grow its property portfolio, increasing nearly threefold in size to NOK141bn and now accounting for 2.2% of assets, up from 1%.Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive at NBIM, said: “Never before have we made as many property investments as we did last year, and we will continue to step up these investments in the coming years.”A large part of the asset growth came from acquisitions in the US, which now accounted for 35% of the property portfolio, up from 18.7%.The UK also remained an important country, accounting for 28.4%, up by 1.4 percentage points.The fund transferred ownership of 11 listed real estate holdings from the equity team to the property team over the course of 2014, with the NOK33bn in holdings returning 6%.Read Yngve Slyngstad’s thoughts on NBIM’s approach to investments in a recent issue of IPE
Kwasi Appiah hopes to guide the Black Stars to the coveted fifth Africa Cup of Nations title in Egypt. Ghana managed to top Group F ahead of Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau and Benin. Two draws and a win at the group stages were enough to seal top spot in Egypt.Kwasi Appiah opts for his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation; a double-pivot in midfield, two wingers and an attack-minded midfielder in the hole behind the striker. His lineups from the group stage give us an indication of how he will set up against Tunisia. The Black Stars learnt a lot in the group stages; the best centre-back pairing, how good the wide players in the team are and what our midfield is good at.Black Stars Strengths’ â— Wing playGhana is one of the best teams in the AFCON when it comes to attacking from the flanks; with 54% of our attacks coming from the left and right flanks. This has been down to how Kwasi Appiah has instructed the team to play, the wingers and full-backs operate very high up the pitch. Baba Rahman’s introduction into the XI has been crucial, and the effect can be seen, with Ghana predominantly attacking from the left side of the field. Look at how high Yiadom and Baba are in the attackTunisia loves to play and attack quite narrow, so using our width to its maximum capacity would help us a lot in Ismailia â— Getting in behind defencesGhana’s build-up play leaves a lot to be desired at times but most often when it does work, we create a lot of chances from it. Our attackers; especially Jordan, thrive at receiving the ball in behind defences rather than in front of them. Look closely at Ghana’s goals scored in this AFCON, majority of them have come from getting the ball in behind the opponent. The forwards may not have pace to burn, but their intelligent runs have allowed them to gain a few yards ahead of the opponent’s defenders. Jordan’s effort vs Guinea-BissauGhana’s equalizer vs BeninJordan Ayew goal vs BeninAll three situations above have involved two things; a good passer and a willing runner(s). If Ghana are able to use this weapon effectively in Ismaila, they would have an upper hand throughout the game. TunisiaAlain Giresse sets up Tunisia very similar to how Ghana setup, but with a few variations.Tunisia plays more of a 4-2-3-1 system, which is built on maximizing the attacking ability of their three (3) star players: Wahbi Khazri, Youssef Msakni and Naim Sliti. This trio has caused havoc in the final third in this AFCON, but their failure to convert when necessary has been their stumbling block. The variation of the 4-2-3-1 Tunisia employ involves their wingers drifting centrally to form an attacking trident in the middle of the pitch. They often rotate as they move across the pitch, confusing defenders as to who to track at which time. Typical Tunisia attacking structureHow does Ghana beat them?Beating Tunisia will not be easy but we need to do two things:â— Provide width and stretch play as wide as possible â— Get in behind the defence often If there is joy to be found in this Tunisia lineup, it’s in their fullback areas. Tunisia’s fullbacks operate high and wide to accommodate for the lack of width when Sliti-Msakni-Khazri come into the middle. Mauritania and Mali were able to exploit this countless times during the group stage.Mauritania able to find their striker in behind with easeThis is how both teams would lineup with respect to the tactics and movements of the players in the formation.Tunisia’s fullbacks pushing up wide during the game would give a perfect advantage to the Black Stars; Samuel Owusu and Dede Ayew would need to stay high and wide in order to take advantage of any spaces in behind. If Alain Giresse decides to put a leash on both fullbacks, then Kwasi Appiah would need to let Yiadom and Baba attack and create 2v1 situations out wide. The runs of Partey, Dede and Jordan in behind the Tunisian defence would need to be perfectly choreographed if the Black Stars are to stand a chance in Ismailia.
Crawford was not only an All-Star in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010, he was the All-Star game’s Most Valuable Player in 2009.The Dodgers on the All-Star ballot were chosen by general manager Ned Colletti along with representatives from Major League Baseball, a Dodgers official confirmed.The team will promote Crawford as a write-in candidate.Puig is technically on his first ballot, but was nearly voted in by the fans last season courtesy of the NL All-Star final vote. Puig received more votes than anybody in Final Vote history except Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who beat him out with 19.7 million.The rest of the Dodgers’ All-Star ballot representatives were predictable: Adrian Gonzalez (first base), Dee Gordon (second base), Hanley Ramirez (shortstop), Juan Uribe (third base) and A.J. Ellis (catcher). Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The three outfielders on the ballot aren’t exactly attractive All-Star candidates at the moment. Neither is Crawford for that matter.Puig is hitting .254 with a .338 on-base percentage and a .437 slugging percentage. Kemp’s slash line is 211/.297/.456, Ethier’s is. 194/.247/.284, and Crawford’s is .222/.231/.317. New set-up for Wilson?The Dodgers are considering a removal of reliever Brian Wilson from his current set-up role, according to manager Don Mattingly.Wilson surrendered four runs in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 7-3 loss to the Phillies, giving him two losses in just six appearances this season.After spending 17 days on the disabled list with elbow irritation earlier this month — and not allowing a run in 24 outings last season — one can’t help but wonder if Wilson is healthy.“I think he’s healthy. If he’s not, he’s not telling us,” Mattingly said. “I feel like it’s just execution. He says possibly getting him regular work will get him back in a groove.”Wilson faced six batters Thursday, gave up three hits, hit one batter and intentionally walked another before he was relieved.He only hit 94 mph on the radar gun with two of the nine fastballs he threw Thursday. One was fouled off by Tony Gwynn Jr. and the other hit Ryan Howard. Last year, Wilson’s fastball was averaging between 93 and 94 with a high of 96 mph. Puig to the big screen?Just as the waters were calming after a Los Angeles Magazine story chronicling Puig’s defection from Cuba was published, it made another wave.The film rights to Jesse Katz’s story have been sold to “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner’s production company, RatPac Entertainment, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The magazine story details Puig’s attempts to escape Cuba and eventually his successful defection courtesy of smugglers working for a Mexican drug cartel. Puig was then held captive by the smugglers for three weeks when the man who sponsored his defection didn’t pay them before he eventually crossed the U.S. border and was signed by the Dodgers to a seven-year, $43 million deal. The irony of being left off the All-Star ballot wasn’t lost on Carl Crawford.The Dodgers outfielder’s four All-Star selections are tied with Adrian Gonzalez for the most of the team, but he was passed over in favor of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig when the ballot was released Friday.“To not even have a chance, I mean, I’ve got the most All-Stars of anybody on the team,” Crawford said. “Now there’s not even a chance. I don’t know how I’m supposed to take that.”Only three outfielders per team are allowed on the ballot. The Dodgers’ request to add a fourth was denied, according to a Dodgers official.