x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

IPIC to buy out Aabar shares

The International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) is offering to buy out the minority shareholders of Aabar Investments for Dh1.45 a share.

The International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) is offering to buy out the minority shareholders of Aabar Investments for Dh1.45 a share as part of a plan to take full control of the company and delist it from the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). The offer will begin today and continue to August 1, Aabar said in a statement posted on the ADX website today. The offer is the same as Aabar's closing price yesterday, although it is about 12 per cent lower than it was on the day the company announced plans to delist.

More than 70 per cent of Aabar shares are held by IPIC. If all remaining shareholders accept the buyout terms, IPIC will own 100 per cent of Aabar. Since IPIC took a controlling stake in Aabar through a Dh1.5 billion (US$408.4 million) bond that converted into shares at the start of last year, the investment company has made a series of high-profile investments. Aabar, which until IPIC's involvement was a small holding company with interests in oil exploration and drilling, last year bought 9.1 per cent of the German car maker Daimler.

It has also bought 32 per cent of Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson's commercial space flight venture, and major stakes in struggling European financial companies, In today's statement, Aabar also asked to delay until August 8 an ad hoc meeting at which shareholders are to vote on the plan to go private. The meeting was previously scheduled for July 26. The payment to minority shareholders will be made at a specified date agreed to by IPIC and the exchange's regulator, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority. Aabar also said IPIC would not buy shares purchased with loans.

Those who choose to continue to hold their shares will bear the risks associated with the transformation of the company into a private firm, the statement said. Aabar had said in an earlier statement that such investors could later sell shares to other investors, but not on a stock exchange. @Email:halsayegh@thenational.ae