Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment arm, joined hands with industrial company Honeywell to produce N95 face masks in the country as part of its drive to nurture the UAE’s manufacturing base and tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Honeywell set up a new production line with Strata, Mubadala’s wholly owned aerospace manufacturing subsidiary, at its Al Ain facility to produce the face masks, a critical piece of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers battling the deadly virus that has spread across the world, Mubadala said yesterday.
The production line, which has now commenced operations, is the first in the GCC. It will produce about 90,000 masks a day and have an annual output capacity of more than 30 million masks.
“As a responsible investor, we have been working across our global portfolio with local and international organisations to collectively respond to the Covid-19 crisis,” Khaldoon Al Mubarak, group chief executive and managing director of Mubadala, said.
“By collaborating with ... Honeywell, we will be able to deliver critical support to frontline healthcare workers and members of the wider community.”
The new factory, Mr Al Mubarak said, will help address the critical demand for N95 respirators, and will “bolster the resilience of the UAE’s PPE supply chains”.
As a business and tourism hub that connects east and west, the UAE has fared much better than other countries around the world in the engulfing pandemic. However, infection cases have increased over the past few weeks despite one of the highest testing rates in the world.
Authorities yesterday confirmed a further 873 coronavirus cases, taking the country’s total to 25,063, after 38,000 additional tests were carried out, up from 37,844 a day earlier.
The UAE has carried out 1.6 million tests to date. It has recorded 10,791 recoveries so far and 227 fatalities.
Globally, more than 4.9 million people have been infected by Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
About 1.9 million people have recovered and more than 320,000 have died.
Coronavirus around the Middle East
The UAE has been importing all N95 respirators from abroad. However, the new manufacturing line will not only help it meet the national requirements for masks that filter out airborne particles, but also make it an exporter, Mubadala said.
“As a global leader in advanced worker safety technologies, Honeywell is committed to ensuring that PPE products are being placed quickly and cost-effectively in the hands of those most in need, including medical professionals and those on the front lines of the fight against the spread of Covid-19,” Darius Adamczyk, chairman and chief executive of Honeywell, said.
Mubadala’s tie-up with Honeywell is part of its #WeAreDedicated campaign – a group-wide response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its efforts to co-ordinate initiatives across its business platforms and assets to support communities locally and internationally.
Covid-19 has sent shock waves through the global economy, which is set to slide into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. The International Monetary fund expects global output to shrink 3 per cent this year, with recovery to only begin next year.
Mubadala, which manages assets worth $240 billion (Dh881.5bn), has increasingly sought to invest in life sciences and the medical technology sector, Mr Al Mubarak said in February.
“It is an amazing space and you will see us ... significantly increase our investments that space,” he said at the time. “We do that domestically, in terms of how we invest in [healthcare] infrastructure.”
As part of Mubadala’s domestic expansion, the company’s healthcare investment subsidiary bought Abu Dhabi-based Amana Healthcare in January. Other Mubadala healthcare assets in the UAE include Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, National Reference Laboratory, Abu Dhabi Telemedicine and Capital Health Screening Centre.
Mubadala’s international investments include stakes in General Electric, private equity company Carlyle Group, Austria’s oil and gas entity OMV and petrochemicals manufacturers Borealis and Nova Chemicals.