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 â‚¬1.95bn (Dh10.72bn) in March this year for its stake in the car maker, which Mr al Qubaisi called an â€œiconic brandâ€ and a â€œfinancially strong company with a reputation for excellence worldwideâ€. 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 â€œhost Virgin Galactic tourism and scientific research space flightsâ€. Aabar also had plans to build -spaceport facilities in Abu Dhabi.
â€œThe significant partnership not only falls in line with Abu Dhabiâ€™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,â€ Mr al Qubaisi said.
Read the full story.