U.K. gets 29.5 bln investment pledge

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign investors have committed £29.5 billion for long-term support at the Global Investment Summit in London on Monday, reaffirming the United Kingdom's (UK) status as 'one of the best places in the world to do business.

The UK's infrastructure faced challenges in attracting the required private investment, including high costs, labour shortages following Brexit and policy uncertainty.

The goal of the summit is to stimulate investment in the UK and revive the economy, which was predicted by the Bank of England to stagnate until 2025.

It took place just a few days after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made the "full-expensing" capital allowance regime permanent in the Autumn Statement, giving businesses an annual tax break of £11 billion.

Iberdrola, owner of Scottish Power, confirmed £7 billion of investment from 2026 to 2028, while Microsoft pledged £2.5 billion to build AI infrastructure in the UK, including data centres.

Australian funds IFM Investors and Aware Super will invest £10 billion and £5 billion, respectively, in projects ranging from infrastructure and energy transition to affordable housing.

YTL Corp Bhd executive director Tan Sri (Sir) Francis Yeoh was among Malaysian investors at the summit.

Yeoh remained committed to increasing the group's investments of YTL in the UK, dismissing concerns about Brexit uncertainty.

YTL has maintained a presence in the UK since the 1980s, when it collaborated with John Laing Plc of Britain to construct the Nucleus Hospitals project and emerged as the largest Malaysian investor in 2002 by acquiring assets such as Wessex Water from Enron.

Subsequently, five hotels in the UK were acquired, including the Gainsborough Bath Spa and Thermae Bath Spa in Bath, as well as hotels located in London and Edinburgh.

YTL Developments UK has started construction on Brabazon, its flagship real estate project at the former Bristol Filton airfield.

Yeoh received the honorary title of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) on Oct 13, 2019, from King Charles III (then Prince Charles) for his efforts to fortify bilateral ties between the UK and Malaysia.

Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah, the founder and chairman of Sunway Group, became the second Malaysian to receive the same honour.

He received the KBE last month from King Charles in appreciation for his services to higher education, health care and philanthropy.

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