x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Taqa to conclude three more acquisitions

Extending a three-year buying spree, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, or Taqa, is eyeing three more acquisition targets.

Extending a three-year buying spree, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, or Taqa, is eyeing three more acquisition targets as it seeks to expand its US$24.5 billion 24.5 (Dh89.92bn) asset portfolio by a further U$1bn this quarter. "If any one of these comes through, we would meet our investment target," Peter Barker-Homek, the company's chief executive, told reporters. "We are emphasising our downstream business, so we are trying to do more around power (generation) and gas transmission," he added.

When it was created four years ago, Taqa's only assets were stakes in several large Abu Dhabi power generation and water desalination projects. But in 2007, Mr Barker-Homek launched an international investment programme, at the same time expanding the company's operations into oil and gas production, and midstream gas services such as pipelines and storage. This year, Taqa has already invested $1.5bn in a variety of assets that include North Sea gasfields, the distribution system for Europe's benchmark Brent crude oil, and stakes in Caribbean power plants.

To help manage its global operations, which now extend across four continents, Taqa yesterday awarded a five-year contract to Wipro, the Indian and business services conglomerate, for information technology (IT) services. Wipro said it would set up an offshore development centre in Chennai, India, dedicated to Taqa's requirements and employing up to 200 staff. Taqa and Wipro officials declined to disclose financial terms of the deal. But Anand Sankaran, the chief executive of Wipro's India and Middle East business division, said it would make a "substantial" contribution to the unit's revenues, which he predicted would grow by 45 to 50 per cent this year from about US$80 million last year.

Companies based in the Middle East have not cut back their IT spending during the global recession as much as those in most other parts of the world, he said. Mr Barker-Homek said he expected next year to be a "banner year" for Taqa, as the company ramps up oil and gas production. The company's gas output from the Dutch North Sea would double, while oil and gas production from the British North Sea and North America would increase by 20 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, he predicted.

Taqa is 75 per cent owned by the Abu Dhabi Government. Its stock closed yesterday on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange at Dh1.68, up six fils. tcarlisle@thenational.ae