Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

State-owned Abu Dhabi firms transferred to new parent company

Firms in the media, health, shipping and events sectors to come under control of Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company

Golden Card visas have succeeded in encouraging overseas investors and residents to invest in the UAE. Victor Besa / The National.
Golden Card visas have succeeded in encouraging overseas investors and residents to invest in the UAE. Victor Besa / The National.

Abu Dhabi government interests in sectors including health care, media and shipping are to be transferred to a single parent company as part of reforms designed to boost their performance.

Officials from the Executive Council announced its shares in 11 companies would now be held by Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company, a body established last year to “monitor and guide” the various entities.

ADDHC shares are owned by the government but the enterprise operates as an independent corporation with financial and administrative autonomy.

Companies and organisations to be transferred include Abu Dhabi Ports, the Daman health insurance company, Abu Dhabi Airports, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company and TwoFour54, the media free zone.

Abu Dhabi Media, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services, Modon Properties, Abu Dhabi Health Services, Musanada and the Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones will also become ADDHC subsidiaries.

A shake-up of leadership at some of the bodies was also announced by ADDHC this week.

A new board at TwoFour54 will include Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak as chairman and Maryam Eid AlMheiri as deputy chairwoman.

Meanwhile, Falah Mohamed Al Ahbabi has been appointed as the new chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports Company.

The board of Abu Dhabi Media was also overhauled on Tuesday, with Minister of StateDr Sultan Al Jaber appointed chairman. Board members will typically serve three-year terms, which are renewable.

ADDHC’s mandate is to “monitor and guide these companies, enabling them to achieve excellence in terms of performance, productivity and quality in line with the Abu Dhabi leadership’s vision”, a report on WAM, the state news agency, said.

“Generally, there has been a drive in the region to consolidate state entities in terms of operations and ownership, amid GCC-wide efforts to cut government spending and reduce costs, said Mohamed Bardastani, senior economist, Middle East, at Oxford Economics.

"This latest move [by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council] is part of that same focus.”

The announcement comes against a backdrop of wider efforts to diversify the Abu Dhabi economy away from reliance on the oil sector.

A Dh50 billion package of measures designed to boost the private sector over the next three years - known as Ghadan 21 - was announced last year.

ADDHC was set up as a public joint stock company by presidential decree in March 2018. It was established as “an independent corporate body that enjoys full legal status to practice its activities and achieve its objectives, as well as its financial and administrative autonomy”, an announcement at the time said.

The company shares are owned by the government and it was set up with a capital value of Dh500m. Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi, who held various senior roles at Mubadala Investment Company over more than a decade and sits on the board of some of the largest companies in the region, was announced as the ADDHC chief executive in May.

Updated: July 4, 2019 04:50 PM

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