Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Owns Part of Virgin Galactic, Tesla Motors

Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic pilots, staffers and investors. To his right is Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO of Aabar, which made a $280 million in Virgin Galactic.
Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic pilots, staffers and investors. To his right is Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO of Aabar, which made a $280 million in Virgin Galactic.

There’s an interesting story in The National about how Aabar Investments – a company backed by the Abu Dhabi government – has transformed itself from a small energy firm into a high-tech powerhouse with investments in Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic (32 percent) and Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors (4 percent).


Since its transformation, Aabar has spent at least Dh25 billion (US$6.8bn) acquiring stakes in the German car maker Daimler, the UK aerospace company Virgin Galactic and its move yesterday to buy 30 per cent of the Brawn GP Formula One team….

The most high-profile investment by Aabar so far has been its acquisition of a 9.1 per cent stake in Daimler. Aabar paid €1.95bn (Dh10.72bn) in March this year for its stake in the car maker, which Mr al Qubaisi called an “iconic brand” and a “financially strong company with a reputation for excellence worldwide”. Aabar said yesterday that it planned to increase that stake to 15 per cent.

The Daimler investment led to two other joint initiatives. Aabar bought its stake in Tesla from Daimler in July this year. It then combined with Daimler on a deal with the Algerian government the following month to build car making plants….

Aabar has also invested in space tourism, buying 32 per cent of the holding company that owns Virgin Galactic for $280m. At the same time, Aabar said it would invest $100m in a small satellite launch capability and get the rights to “host Virgin Galactic tourism and scientific research space flights”. Aabar also had plans to build -spaceport facilities in Abu Dhabi.

“The significant partnership not only falls in line with Abu Dhabi’s larger plans to inculcate technology research and science at a grassroots level, but also complements its aim to be the international tourism capital of the region,” Mr al Qubaisi said.

Read the full story.