x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Profits of Abu Dhabi's Ipic jump from the millions to billions

The profits of International Petroleum Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi investment company, surged as its refining and chemical units boosted performance.

Ipic owns the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline, Abu Dhabi's most important midstream project. Courtesy Ipic
Ipic owns the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline, Abu Dhabi's most important midstream project. Courtesy Ipic

The profits of International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), the Abu Dhabi investment company behind many of the emirate's downstream holdings, surged as its refining and chemical units boosted performance.

The investment vehicle cited "better operational performance" for the jump in profits to Dh6.4 billion last year from Dh164.1 million the year before. Ipic, which owns stakes in the Spanish refiner Cepsa, the Canadian Nova Chemicals and the Austrian petrochemicals maker Borealis, also divested some of the assets associated with its subsidiary Aabar.

"Past financial results have been hurt by losses on stakes tied to companies owned by Aabar," Ipic said in a press release. "The profit increase was attributable to the robust operational performance of Cepsa, Nova Chemicals and Borealis along with the recovery of certain listed equities held by Aabar."

Revenue increased to Dh190.6bn in 2012 from Dh126bn in the previous year, while assets were flat at US$65.16bn, said Ipic.

Ipic, which the emirate created in 1984 to invest in energy-related industries, holds stakes in OMV, the Austrian oil producer that also owns a share of Borealis, and the Italian bank Unicredit. Some of the investments have yielded benefits for the emirate's downstream expansion, such as Borouge, the joint venture between Borealis and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company that produces specialised polymers.

Ipic also directly funds the expansion of the nation's infrastructure, such as the strategic pipeline linking oil in Habshan to tankers in Fujairah, allowing crude to bypass the Strait of Hormuz.

In 2009 Ipic began to amass a stake in Aabar, then a small oil and gas investment company that soon became known for high-profile investments such as the electric car maker Tesla Motors, the commercial spaceliner Virgin Galactic and Brawn GP, a grand prix racing team. In 2010 Ipic agreed to buy out the rest of Aabar.

In 2011, Ipic booked a $3.42bn loss from Aabar's holdings in Daimler and UniCredit, and in the first half of last year Ipic continued to suffer on the market value of its Aabar-related holdings.

But since then it has managed a turnaround.

In October, Aabar sold off its remaining shares in Daimler for €1.25bn, earning nearly 100 per cent profit in the three years since buying a 9.04 per cent stake in the German car manufacturer.

The following month, Ipic tapped debt markets to raise $2.9bn. The previous year it raised $3.75bn in bonds.

 

ayee@thenational.ae