Adic plans to offer shares globally

The Government-owned investment bank plans to sell shares to international investors within the next five years.

ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi Investment Company (Adic), the Government-owned investment bank, plans to sell shares to international investors within the next five years as part of a broader effort to become a global firm competing with the likes of Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. The company aims to complete an initial public offering by 2013 and would like to see its shares listed on a stock exchange overseas, a spokesman said.

At a conference in the capital, Nazem al Kudsi, the chief executive, told Zawya Dow Jones: "An international listing gives you a check mark for corporate transparency, which is what the region is massively lacking. Transparency will give us more liquidity and will make it easier for us to buy stakes in companies abroad." Listing abroad will also force Adic to raise the sophistication and quality of its services to an international level, said Amr Abol-Enein, regional banking analyst at ING Bank in Dubai. "It would give them more exposure to international clients and their models," he said.

Created in 1977, Adic once served primarily as a proprietary trading arm of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia). Last year, however, Adia transferred Adic to the newly created Abu Dhabi Investment Council, along with an undisclosed number of domestic and regional assets. Since then, Adic has revealed plans to shift from servicing the Government to taking on private customers, a move consistent with Abu Dhabi's goal of growing its financial sector.

In July, Adic appointed Mr Kudsi as chief executive, plucking him from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, where he was chief investment officer. The Investment Council owns 73 per cent of the National Bank. Khalifa Mohamed al Kindi, the chairman of Adic, said Mr Kudsi would be in charge of achieving significant growth. "[Mr] Nazem has broad experience across the investment business in developing and building funds; from commodities and equities to technology," Mr Kindi said.

Adic has already made strides towards establishing itself. In 1994, it set up Abu Dhabi's first 24-hour foreign exchange trading desk and operates one of Gulf's busiest trading floors, moving up to US$2 billion (Dh7.35bn) in trades a day. Adic, which still manages some government assets, is believed to manage a portfolio worth more than $2bn. Those holdings include two Sofitel luxury hotels in Egypt, the local brokerage National Financial and a district cooling plant in Musaffah.

Last year, it waded further into foreign markets by establishing a joint venture with Switzerland's UBS to create funds for investing in infrastructure in the Middle East and North Africa. @Email:warnold@thenational.ae

Published: August 28, 2008 04:00 AM

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