Abu Dhabi’s Aldar creates $5.4bn real estate giant

Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, one of Aldar's flagship developments. (Supplied)
Updated 12 September 2018

Abu Dhabi’s Aldar creates $5.4bn real estate giant

  • New unit could eventually list shares in IPO
  • Property company owns some of Abu Dhabi's top landmarks

DUBAI: Aldar Properties, the Abu Dhabi-government controlled real estate group, is to spin off its property assets into a new company that could eventually list separately on a stock exchange in an initial public (IPO) offering worth billions of dollars.
The developer — which has been responsible for some of the biggest projects in the emirates, including the F1 track on Yas Island — announced the creation of Aldar Investments, as a fully owned subsidiary that will hold property assets valued at 20 billion dirhams ($5.4 billion).
The move “is designed to drive greater operational and capital efficiencies that will unlock value for shareholders and create the foundation for a new phase of accelerated growth,” Aldar said at a launch event at Abu Dhabi Global Market (AGDM), the UAE’s capital’s financial free zone, where the new company will be based.
“The creation of Aldar Investments allows Aldar to spin off its recurring-revenue assets into a 100 percent-owned separate entity, with greater independence, focused governance and a more efficient cost structure,” the statement added.
Although the statement did not mention the possibility of an IPO, Aldar Properties chief executive Talal Al-Dhiyebi told journalists that it could consider a market listing at some stage in the future. “We are ready to monetize this business at the right time if it’s going to deliver more shareholder growth,” he said on CNBC television.
An IPO is not the only possible structure, however. One financier close to the company — who did not want to be named — said: “This is piece of financial engineering, but an honest one that creates value. It has all the features of a real estate investment trust, and that could imply long-term asset management rather than a market listing. It gives them a lot of options and is a smart way to go.”
Shares in Aldar Properties, currently listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), fell just over 2 percent on the announcement.
The new vehicle, which owns some of Abu Dhabi’s most recognized assets such as Yas Mall, The Gate Towers and over 2,400 hotel rooms near the F1 track, as well as the distinctive “coin” headquarters building, has been assigned a Baa1 rating by Moody’s ratings agency — the highest rating for a non-government corporate in the region and one notch above its parent company.
“Aldar Investments can access capital on more favorable terms, independently of Aldar, and intends to issue a new sukuk in the near term. Aldar Investments has set formal debt and dividend policies consistent with the current asset management business providing further clarity for investors,” the parent company said.
Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of Aldar Properties, called the move “another significant milestone in Aldar’s history.”
He added: “As the owner of 20 billion dirhams of prime real estate assets, Aldar Investments provides an opportunity for investors to benefit from Abu Dhabi’s AA rated economy.”
The move is also a boost for ADGM, bringing billions of dollars of assets within its jurisdiction on Al Maryah Island. Ahmed Al-Sayegh, the chairman of ADGM, said: “We are delighted that ADGM is continuing to be utilized not only as a platform for international business, but also to support our domestic businesses in their ongoing development and expansion.”
This move follows the recent Abu Dhabi Executive Council Decree, extending full onshore real estate ownership rights to Aldar Properties and its subsidiaries in Abu Dhabi.
Aldar recently announced significant joint ventures with its Dubai counterpart, Emaar, which has launched separate IPOs of its property, hotels and leisure businesses in recent years.

Actis takes on management of two Abraaj funds

Updated 15 July 2019

Actis takes on management of two Abraaj funds

  • US prosecutors have in recent months charged several executives of Abraaj with criminal charges, accusing them of taking part in a massive scheme to defraud investors

DUBAI:Actis said on Monday it had acquired the rights to manage two private equity funds previously managed by collapsed buyout firm Abraaj, in a deal aimed at strengthening its position in the Middle East and Africa.

Actis will take over the management rights to Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV and Abraaj Africa fund III, it said in a statement.
Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation in June 2018, was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last year in the aftermath of a row with investors over the use of money in a $1 billion health care fund.
The transaction includes investments in 14 portfolio companies across the two funds, Actis said.
“This Abraaj transaction further bolsters Actis’ footprint in the growth markets and follows the addition and integration of Standard Chartered’s Principal Finance Real Estate business in Asia in 2018,” it said.


Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation in June 2018, was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa.

Actis now has $12 billion under management and more than 250 people across 16 offices.
The Actis transaction comes after the finalization of two other Abraaj deals — the transfer of management of the $1 billion health care fund to US buyout fund TPG and the sale of Abraaj’s Latin America fund to Colony Capital.
NBK Capital Partners, owned by Kuwait’s biggest lender, walked away from advanced talks to buy a global credit fund previously managed by Abraaj, Reuters reported last month.
US prosecutors have in recent months charged several executives of Abraaj with criminal charges, accusing them of taking part in a massive scheme to defraud investors.