x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

ADIC changes name, creates four equity funds

Abu Dhabi Investment Company plans to create four new equities funds as it seeks to draw international investment to the region.

Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC) plans to create four new equities funds as it seeks to draw international investment to the region. The government-owned investment company has also changed its name to Invest AD as it repositions itself as an asset manager of government and international funds. Invest AD will create four new funds to focus on GCC equities, UAE equities, MENA and developing markets in Africa.

"We think the region should also be seen as a destination of capital for very good fundamental reasons going forward," Nazem al Kudsi, the Invest AD chief executive, said yesterday. Gulf fund managers are tapping into renewed investor appetite for local equities and bonds as a strengthening oil price and attractive stock market valuations lure foreign investors back to the region. The Gulf Venture Capital Association estimates that regional private equity groups have as much as US$11 billion (Dh40.39bn) waiting to invest. After the financial crisis hit, many regional investors postponed deals and shelved new investment fund launches.

Mr al Kudsi said Invest AD was looking into a number of possible private equity-style investments within the region and abroad. "We are very interested in western investments," he said when asked whether the firm was considering other Gulf investors that have bought stakes in ailing banks in the West. "But at the end of the day we are very IRR [internal rate of return] sensitive." Mr al Kudsi said Invest AD might also target the infrastructure sector, with the total amount of spending in the MENA region likely to exceed $410bn over the next 10 years.

The company said last week it would buy a stake in a Russian ski resort that will host events during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Before the name change, Invest AD was often confused with its majority shareholder, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, one of the emirate's sovereign wealth funds that gained international exposure late last year when it took a substantial stake in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan.

"We changed the name because we wanted a fresh start," Mr al Kudsi said. "In today's alphabet soup of names that start with the letter A, it does distinguish us a little bit." tpantin@thenational.ae