Abu Dhabi sovereign fund sells $947mn UniCredit stake

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Mi­lan, Italy - Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala more than halved its share­hold­ing in Ital­ian bank UniCredit SpA as the holder of about 6 per cent of the world’s oil re­serves sells stakes in over­seas as­sets.

The fund’s stake de­clined to about 2.02 per cent as of De­cem­ber 20, ac­cord­ing a fil­ing by the Ital­ian mar­ket reg­u­la­tor, down from a 4.99 per cent stake in June, Con­sob said in a state­ment late on Tues­day. The stake sold by the fund is val­ued about € 850mn (US$947mn) based on yes­ter­day’s clos­ing price.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Mubadala and UniCredit de­clined to com­ment.

Abu Dhabi’s fund bought the stake in 2010 as part of its strat­egy to di­ver­sify in­vest­ments from the emi­rate’s oil-based econ­omy. At the time, the hold­ing was val­ued at about € 1.8bn. The fund, started as a means of di­ver­si­fy­ing the econ­omy by at­tract­ing ex­per­tise and jobs to the emi­rate, is now a global in­vest­ing pow­er­house. The fund has in­vested in Greek fish farm­ing, Europe’s big­gest electric­scooter-shar­ing com­pany and a

Cana­dian data cen­tre.

Mubadala has been caught caught up in a se­ries of in­ves­ti­ga­tions over the Malaysian gov­ern­ment’s scan­dal-rid­den 1 Malysia De­vel­op­ment Bhd. In 2017, Mubadala com­mit­ted

US$15bn to Soft­Bank Group Corp’s US$100bn Vi­sion Fund and its mon­i­tor­ing its per­for­mance be­fore de­cid­ing whether to sign up for the sec­ond round, ac­cord­ing to co-CEO Khal­doon al Mubarak.

The fund cut its stake move hap­pened less than one month af­ter UniCredit chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jean Pierre Mustier an­nounced new busi­ness strat­egy, aimed at re­ward­ing in­vestors through 2023 through share buy­backs and div­i­dends to­tal­ing € 8bn.

Mustier is seek­ing to drive in­vestor re­turns while sig­nal­ing that the bank - in com­mon with many of its peers - is strug­gling to boost growth in a time of neg­a­tive in­ter­est rates. Rev­enue and costs are ex­pected to be lit­tle changed through 2023 and the bank will fo­cus on ek­ing out what it can on its own rather than at­tempt­ing ma­jor ac­qui­si­tions.

UniCredit’s main in­vestors are Black­Rock Inc and Dodge & Cox with about 5 per cent stake each, ac­cord­ing to the bank’s web­site.

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