ICD takes over National Bonds Corp

Dubai's sovereign wealth fund Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) had acquired a remaining 50 per cent stake in National Bonds Corp, giving it full ownership of the sharia-compliant savings scheme.

The investment arm of the Gulf Arab emirate also replaced the state-owned firm's board of directors with five new members, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.

ICD bought the 50 per cent stake from its previous local shareholders, the statement said. National Bonds' shareholders included property developer Emaar Properties, Dubai Holding and Dubai Bank, according to its website.

ICD did not disclose a value for the acquisition.

National Bonds, which pools retail investors' savings, made over Dh2b ($544.7m) in sales in 2010 with customers growth jumping 9 per cent from the year earlier.

"Investment Corporation of Dubai's move to acquire full ownership of National Bonds stems from our confidence in the company's long-term potential as a dynamic and diversified savings scheme," ICD Chief Executive Mohammed Al-Shaibani said in the statement.

Unlisted National Bonds rarely provides detail about its investment strategy but annuity funds typically place most of their investments in assets more liquid than real estate.

Sources told Reuters last year that the company invests heavily in real estate projects with some of the developments tied to its majority shareholder, the government of Dubai.

Its former chief investment officer left the firm last May amid disagreements with senior management over its investment strategy.

ICD is one of the emirate's three conglomerates along with Dubai Holding and Dubai World. Its unlisted investments was worth Dh70.3b ($19.14b), while the listed firms were worth Dh19.8b ($5.39b), a Dubai government bond prospectus last year showed.

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