Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional pledged on Wednesday to boost its international presence, including in China, as part of a strategy that in 2015 helped it post a small rise in asset value even as the domestic economy stumbled.

The fund is open to opportunities in China, Khazanah's managing director Azman Mokhtar said at a press conference after it disclosed a 3.2 percent rise in its portfolio value to 150.2 billion ringgit ($34.29 billion) last year.

"China is moving into a different phase of economic development. When such a giant economy moves, there will be dislocations but there will also be opportunities," Azman said.

"Yes, we will consider increasing investments in China in the right sectors. But also divesting some investments in other sectors when it is time."

The state fund has recently increased investment activity abroad and owns stakes in several global firms including China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Khazanah's return on investment last year was largely driven by its foreign holdings. While its total returns averaged 10.7 percent, the return on foreign investments alone was about 18 percent.

Its major asset IHH Healthcare Berhad acquired stakes in Continental Hospitals and Global Hospitals, both in India. And national utility firm Tenaga Nasional, another top asset, took stakes in Jimah East Power and Turkish power company Gama Enerji AS.


In 2014, Khazanah's assets grew 7.7 percent.

Azman said in 2015 Khazanah made 23 investments totalling 8.7 billion ringgit and 10 divestments worth 5.3 billion ringgit.

Lower oil and commodity prices have hurt Southeast Asia's third-largest economy, along with a weak ringgit, Asia's worst performing currency last year.

Earlier this week, Moody's cut Malaysia's sovereign rating outlook to stable from positive, flagging risks from the economy's deteriorating growth profile as global trade and market conditions worsen.

More than 80 percent of the fund's investment universe is Malaysian companies, posing challenges to its growth.

"The volatile and uncertain conditions...we expect it to continue in 2016," said Azman.

He said Khazanah has injected 1 billion ringgit into an equity investment firm ValueCap, set up last year to shore up Malaysia's stock market.

Khazanah took Malaysia Airlines private in 2014 as part of a 6 billion Malaysian ringgit plan aimed at returning it to profit within three years.

Azman said it was too early to say when the airline would return to profitability, adding a rebranding was not on the cards.

"The recovery plan is on track. But rebranding is not a priority at the moment," he said.