Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 29 September 2020

Adnoc completes $1bn institutional placement of shares in its distribution unit

The shares are listed and traded on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and will increase the company’s free float to 20%

Adnoc Distribution is the UAE’s largest fuel and convenience retailer. The company operates 406 fuel stations in the UAE and two in Saudi Arabia as of June 30. Courtesy: Adnoc
Adnoc Distribution is the UAE’s largest fuel and convenience retailer. The company operates 406 fuel stations in the UAE and two in Saudi Arabia as of June 30. Courtesy: Adnoc

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company completed an institutional placement of 1.25 billion shares worth $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) in its distribution unit to a group of institutional investors.

The transaction is the “largest block placement of a publicly-listed GCC company,” Adnoc said in a statement on Monday.

The placement follows the listing of 10 per cent of Adnoc Distribution’s shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in December 2017.

The placement was priced at Dh2.95 per share, which is 18 per cent above the initial public offering price of Dh2.50 and equivalent to a 5 per cent discount on the company’s three-month volume weighted average price.

Adnoc Distribution is the UAE’s largest fuel and convenience retailer. The company operates 406 fuel stations in the UAE and two in Saudi Arabia as of June 30. The institutional placement of the distribution entity’s shares follows Adnoc’s earlier intention to sell more of its shareholding in the company in order to increase the stock’s free float and liquidity on the ADX.

The transaction highlights "the attractive nature of Adnoc Distribution to investors and demonstrates the high quality investment opportunities offered by Adnoc and more broadly by Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates," said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Adnoc Group chief executive.

"For the investors, it presented a unique opportunity to access a sizeable stake in Adnoc Distribution and invest in a stable and highly compelling equity story, with an attractive and resilient dividend policy," Dr Al Jaber, who is also Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said.

"It also contributes to increased liquidity in the trading of shares in Adnoc Distribution, while broadening our shareholder base.”

In the latest transaction, the company completed the placement of shares to a group of unspecified institutional investors. The shares are listed and traded on the local exchange and will increase the company’s free float to 20 per cent.

Adnoc will retain 80 per cent ownership of the distribution unit’s registered share capital following the placement. The placement was launched due to significant investor demand for Adnoc Distribution’s stock, the company said.

Adnoc Distribution's 2020 dividend is set to rise 7.5 per cent in 2020 to Dh2.57bn, after a 62 per cent increase in last year's dividend to Dh2.39bn. The company expects to pay the first six-month dividend of 2020, 10.285 fils per share, in October of this year, subject to board approval.

Citigroup Global Markets and First Abu Dhabi Bank acted as joint book runners for the placement. Moelis & Company was an independent financial adviser to Adnoc on the transaction.

Earlier this month, Adnoc signed an agreement worth $5.5bn with Apollo Global Management to lease some of its properties on a long-term basis, as part of its plans to unlock capital from its non-core assets.

The deal followed an earlier transaction involving a group of institutional investors in its midstream sector.

A consortium of the world’s leading infrastructure and sovereign wealth funds signed an agreement worth $20.7bn in June to invest in Abu Dhabi’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure. The infrastructure deal, which followed a similar transaction involving Adnoc’s oil pipelines in 2019, is the largest in the energy sector so far this year.

Investors such as Global Infrastructure Partners, Brookfield Asset Management, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, South Korea's NH Investment & Securities and Italy’s Snam bought into the infrastructure deal, which resulted in upfront proceeds of $10bn for the company.

In 2019, a $5bn transaction involving Adnoc’s oil pipelines attracted leading global private equity players such as BlackRock and KKR.

Adnoc also agreed to form a joint venture with Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ earlier this year to hasten the development of chemicals manufacturing at Ruwais.

Updated: September 14, 2020 12:44 PM

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