x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Privatising plans from Mubadala

Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, is planning to privatise more activities.

Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, is planning to privatise more activities.

Property is one of the key areas under scrutiny, Waleed Al Muhairi, its chief operating officer, told a leadership conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Mubadala is one of the largest land-holders in the capital.

It is the lead developer of Sowwah Island, the Arzanah residential and mixed-use community and the Mina Zayed Waterfront leisure and entertainment district.

Government-led support for the sector has become less of a priority as the economic dynamics of both the region and the world shift, Mr Al Muhairi said during the conference, according to the Dow Jones News Service.

"As we look now at a changed world, at a changed landscape, while we know that certainly the Government has to have a say in some of these larger projects, it doesn't mean you need a government institution to develop them," Mr Al Muhairi said.

"We spend a lot of time talking about how we hand off this capability to the two or three publicly traded and therefore private sector businesses that exist that are able to take this mantle away."

Mubadala owns about half of the publicly listed developer Aldar Properties, after converting about Dh2.1 billion (US$571.7 million) in bonds into shares last month.

A few weeks later, Aldar sold several of its key assets to the Abu Dhabi Government, including Central Market and 760 homes on Raha Beach, as part of a Dh16.8bn deal to help ease the developer's debt load.

But discussions are now turning toward privatising property activities controlled by the Government.

"We're in the middle of that debate", about transferring property activities, Mr Al Muhairi said, "and you're going to see we're going to move a way outside of some of those activities, all in favour of the private sector".

Last month, Mubadala sold John Buck International, a property management joint venture with the John Buck Company, to Serco for an undisclosed price.

* with Dow Jones