(Bloomberg) – Less than two years after the frantic deal-making that led to the shift from pharmaceuticals to agricultural trade, Mohamed Hasan Alsuwaidi’s biggest concern is whether he will act “fast enough.”
The sense of urgency may seem surprising from the CEO of Abu Dhabi’s new sovereign wealth fund, ADQ, which has amassed nearly $ 110 billion in assets since its founding in 2018, including a 45% stake in Louis Dreyfus Company BV.
“We will deploy significant numbers this year and in the next five years,” Alsuwaidi, 38, said in a rare interview. “People will be amazed at how much we can place in the markets in which we operate.”
Even in a city that is one of the few in the world that manages nearly $ 1 trillion in sovereign wealth, ADQ has quickly become a tool for Abu Dhabi to address its weakest points.
Although Alsuwaidi did not reveal the size of the ADQ, he said that the Global SWF’s $ 110 billion estimate is not that high. Moreover, this number should double within seven to ten years, he said. ADQ currently has 120 employees, of which 60 to 70 are directly involved in the fund’s investments.
ADQ is one of the emerging types of public funds in the Gulf region, which increasingly have to align their ambitions as global investors with the priorities of the domestic economy.
Originally known as Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Co., the company has taken over management of some of the emirate’s largest assets, from air and seaports, stock market operator and nuclear power corporation to healthcare and utilities.
According to Alsuvaydi, the abbreviation for the company name was boring and was soon abandoned in favor of ADQ. Its mission is to “extract value” from public assets by whatever means available, he said.
Alsuwaidi, the former head of Abu Dhabi’s large government fund, Mubadala Investment Co., says he is constantly looking for ways to achieve his goal by listing, merging or selling assets.
“Every asset, every day of my life, will continue to be listed for publication or monetization,” he said. “And it will happen day after day.”
Chaired by royal family member Sheikh Tahnun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ADQ has quickly become one of the 20 largest sovereign wealth funds in the world and is now the third largest in the UAE capital after investment management Abu Dhabi and Mubadala. Deal-hungry bankers privately describe the atmosphere around him as a “gold rush.”
The internal focus of the fund – 90% of its portfolio consists of Abu Dhabi assets – still distinguishes it from its larger peers. ADIA’s mission as a rainy day fund is to redirect the government’s surplus oil to foreign holdings, while Mubadala is pooling investments overseas and at home.
“We will always be more Abu Dhabi-oriented than our other colleagues,” Alsuwaidi said.
“We do have the characteristics of a sovereign wealth fund,” he said. “But we are defined in our articles as a developing holding company. So, the essence of our bread and butter is the developmental nature of our investments and our deals. “
But it was ADQ’s investment in Louis Dreyfus that brought the company to global prominence for the first time last year. Another spotlight is Egypt, where ADQ has pledged to invest $ 10 billion alongside the country’s sovereign wealth fund. He also recently bought an Egyptian pharmaceutical company from Bausch Health Cos. And has also invested in a supermarket chain in the UAE expanding into that North African country.
Despite the money-grubbing, the main concern remains the role of ADQ in the homeland.
“To maximize any investment, it is sometimes necessary to establish international connections,” said Alsuvaydi. “Sometimes a global presence anchored in Abu Dhabi is a way to get great shareholder value.”
Concerns about over-reliance on others to provide vital supplies of food and medicine, as well as the speed at which global supply lines were disrupted during the pandemic, now seem to be driven by the foundation’s philosophy. In particular, four sectors have caught the attention of ADQ, all of which are vital to the long-term future of the emirate: energy and utilities, food and agriculture, mobility and logistics, and healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
Energy accounts for 65% of ADQ’s portfolio and is likely to remain roughly the same even if it becomes part of the “big pie,” Alsuwaidi said.
“We must not shy away from the fact that we are long in oil,” Alsuvaydi said.
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