UAE tops Arabs in overseas acquisition

Value of country’s cross-border acquisitions exceed $70bn

The UAE emerged as the largest Arab investor in cross-border acquisitions in 2011, pumping nearly $5.7 billion into such sectors to bring the total acquisition value to more than $70 billion over the past seven years.

UN figures showed the UAE was by far the largest investor in the region, with the seven-year value exceeding the combined Arab acquisition value.

Egypt emerged as the third largest Arab investor in cross-border acquisition over the past seven years but the value of its investment of around $25.6 billion was almost a third of the UAE’s acquisition value.

In 2011, the value of Egypt’s overseas acquisitions was almost zero because of the political turmoil that jolted the most populated Arab country.

Other Arab nations hit by political unrest, including Libya and Syria, also recorded no acquisition activity last year.

The figures by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed the total value of the UAE’s cross-border merger and acquisition (M&A) stood at $70.96 billion during 2005-2011.

Almost a third of the investment was made during 2006, when the value of the country’s cross-border M&A stood at nearly $21.3 billion.

The report showed the following three years were also busy years as the M&A value stood at $15.6 billion in 2007, around 5.9 billion in 2008 and nearly $14.8 billion in 2009. It showed 2010 was the one odd out as it recorded a negative balance of $1.8 billion after inflow into M&A exceeded the funds outflow.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s dominant oil exporter, was ranked second in the region’s M&A, with a total of around $29.3 billion during 2005-2011.

Qatar was number four, with a round $21.5 billion followed by Bahrain, with nearly $8.5 billion, according to UNCTAD.

In 2011, Kuwait was the second largest investor with a value of about $two billion while Lebanon came third with nearly $834 million.

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