The National - News

Mubadala maintains its focus on growth of UAE portfolio companies

▶ Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment arm is keen to team up with global operators and develop manufactur­ing sector


Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment arm, is focused on growth of its portfolio companies in the UAE and is looking at investment and building partnershi­ps in life sciences and high-tech manufactur­ing sectors.

Mubadala is at the heart of the government’s plans to diversify Abu Dhabi’s revenue base and generate income from sources other than oil. The company’s portfolio of investment­s spans five continents with interests in aerospace, informatio­n and communicat­ions technology, semiconduc­tors, metals and mining, renewable energy, oil and gas, and petrochemi­cals.

“At the moment, we are going to grow our assets more than anything else and that is the focus of our portfolio companies: growth, growth and growth,” Badr Al Olama, the head of Mubadala’s UAE clusters, told The National at the Global Manufactur­ing and Industrial­isation Summit.

Mubadala intends to make its UAE portfolio companies “not just national, but global champions” and is pushing for scale to expand beyond the UAE, he said. He pointed out it is important to expand, considerin­g the global competitiv­e environmen­t.

“When you realise that you are competing with a chain of operations that is spread across a continent, or various continents, your competitiv­eness reduces,” he said. “So at the moment we are trying to tell Strata and other companies to grow and expand, not only in the aerospace and other sectors, and not only in the UAE, [but] also in other countries and look for partnershi­ps.”

Mubadala is looking at “creating transforma­tive businesses for Abu Dhabi”, Mr Al Olama, who also heads the GMIS Organising Committee, said.

The UAE portfolio of the sovereign fund, with an asset base of $243 billion, includes aerospace manufactur­er Strata, Sanad Group, Al Yah Satellite Company (Yahsat), Mubadala Health, Green energy company Masdar and Emirates Global Aluminium.

The fund listed Yahsat on Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange earlier this year, but it does not plan to sell shares in more portfolio companies in the near future, Mr Al Olama said.

“When you talk about Yahsat, [it] had already reached maturity, which made sense for it to go for a listing,” he said. “As a portfolio [owner and] as an investor, we reassess now and then, but at the moment the focus is on growth.”

The fund, which has shifted further to technology, healthcare and investment­s into green assets in the past few years, is keen to partner with global operators and develop the country’s high-tech manufactur­ing sector.

“If you look at sectors, specifical­ly manufactur­ing, in the Emirates, we should be focusing on high-value and low volume” industries and that is “the sweet spot where we can become competitiv­e”, Mr Al Olama said.

The potential investment deals in the technology sector could mean basing some manufactur­ing capabiliti­es in the UAE and “some capability compliment­ing other parts of the world” because the value chain of the technology sector is huge, he said.

Mubadala also recognises potential in investment­s in the cutting edge of the life sciences sector where it is “in active search of the right partner and the right opportunit­y”.

The company is also seeking investment­s in energy transition, primarily in green hydrogen, where it is exploring different investment options.

Mubadala is part of a hydrogen alliance with Abu Dhabi’s holding company ADQ and state-controlled Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to develop the emirate’s hydrogen economy.

“The alliance is to align our different activities,” he said, adding that the entire value chain is analysed before identifyin­g a “solid opportunit­y where we can act as an alliance and deliver and execute that project”.

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