x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Al Naimi quits as Taqa head

One of Abu Dhabi's biggest energy investment vehicles has undergone a leadership transition, signaling renewed confidence in the company's governance after a rocky period.

Abdulla Al Nuaimi has stepped down as the chief executive of Taqa, the Abu Dhabi energy investment vehicle.

Mr Al Nuaimi was appointed to the post with Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) last year after the departure of its previous head. Yesterday the company said Carl Sheldon, the general manager, would run the company, without naming a successor.

"No decision was made regarding the CEO position, and it's not a thing we're focusing on," said Mohammed Mubaideen, the investor relations manager at Taqa. "The thing we are focusing is who will run the company, and that is Carl Sheldon."

Taqa is 75 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) and the remainder is floated on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

The appointment of Mr Al Nuaimi, a top Adwea official, as Taqa's chief executive, reflected a desire to bring the investment company closer to the fold.

Mr Al Nuaimi was sent to Taqa in April last year to run the company after Peter Barker-Homek, its former chief executive, resigned. During his three years at the helm, Mr Barker-Homek led the company on an acquisition drive, buying US$25 billion (Dh91.82bn) worth of assets from Canada to the Caribbean.

After his departure in October 2009, Taqa executives outlined a strategy that emphasised consolidating existing holdings and focusing on more central geographic regions such as the Middle East and North Africa.

They sold off fringe holdings, such as a stake in a company that owned hydroelectric dams and electricity infrastructure in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Taqa said Mr Al Nuaimi's move came as a result of a desire to focus more on his role at Adwea, where he is director general. He will remain vice chairman of Taqa's board.

Yesterday's announcement came as Taqa considers its options with $1.5bn of debt that will mature in October.

"Taking into consideration that interest rates are very low and there is a lot of liquidity in the markets, even a lot of investors were asking us to issue now," said Mr Mubaideen. "We have to look at the market situation."

Last December the company secured a $3bn revolving credit facility, which will be enough to cover the maturing debt if Taqa chooses, he added.

ayee@thenational.ae