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28 February 2024

Aabar buys Unicredit stake in Atlantia for Dh1.4bn

ADX was informed that Aabar acquired the 3.3 per cent stake of Atlantia from Corporate Partecipazioni. (ERIK ARAZAS)

By Nissar Hoath

Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments has acquired UniCredit's stake in Atlantia, an Italian holding company, for €250 million (Dh1.4bn).

It is the second major acquisition by Aaabar since it changed its portfolio of being a mere petroleum company (Aabar Petroleum Investments Company) to a broader investment firm, spreading its wings across the board with specific investment plans in the financial sector and real estate.

Last month, the company acquired America's AIG Private Bank for $254m, and earlier acquired two plots of land in Al Raha development area for more than Dh500m for developing residential properties. It is also planning to issue convertible bonds worth more than Dh6bn.

According to a disclosure to Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), Aabar acquired the 3.3 per cent skate of Atlantia from Corporate Partecipazioni, a subsidiary of Italy's UniCredit Corporate Banking, for €250m. Aabar acquired the stake through its subsidiary Sopela Beteiligungsverwaltungs GmbH.

"The acquisition was concluded on Tuesday night in Italy. We acquired the UniCredit stakes in Atlantia through a combination of equity and credit funds – €80m cash and the rest bank credit provided by UniCredit," Chief Financial Officer Mohammed Badawy Al Husseiny told Emirates Business.

Terming the acquisition as another major step in diversifying Aaabar, Al Husseiny further added the company will be investing different in different areas through acquisitions and new projects.

When asked if they have identified any acquisitions for 2009, he said: "Not yet. However, we will be looking into any potential transaction that suites Aaabar's strategic plans and we will consider that. "Aaabar is open for investment in any potential area with its original interests in oil and gas continuing along with new businesses," he said.

To another question, Al Husseiny said as of now there are no plans to acquire further stakes in Atlantia or UniCredit. "We will consider if any potential opportunity is available. Not only in Atlantia, but any other asset that we see is worth considering," he said.

UniCredit, which is the second largest bank in Italy by market capitalisation, on Wednesday announced selling its right to take profit in a number of Austrian companies in a €1.06bn deal aimed at boosting its capital ratios

About the current global meltdown, he said Aaabar like any other company or segment of the economy is affected by the ongoing credit crunch. "Aaabar like others feel the pinch. But we make our investment plans when we see the cash flow is there or the time is right to carry out a transaction."