Since entering Abu Dhabi’s landscape four years ago, ADQ has been subject of many headlines. The Sovereign Investor has been tasked with managing an impressive portfolio of national champions, from energy and transportation, to financial services and healthcare. In March 2021, Global SWF were first to estimate ADQ’s assets under management at US$ 110 billion after a detailed analysis of its major assets.
Since then, the portfolio value of the Abu Dhabi investor has remained relatively stable – that is, until the third quarter of this year, when a few developments have pushed its AuM to US$ 157 billion:
ADQ listed 25% of AD Ports in February, monetizing US$ 1.1 billion. The stock has performed very strongly since, and is at an all time high of AED 5.63 today, translating into US$ 5.9 billion for the remaining 75% in ADQ’s hands.
The government of Abu Dhabi has transferred several new assets to ADQ, including the newly created Aviation and Aerospace Services, valued at US$ 2.0 billion, and Etihad Aviation Group, valued at US$ 2.5 billion.
More importantly, ADQ sold 8.6% of its stake in Utilities conglomerate TAQA to IHC-company Multiply Group in September, and the stock price has more than doubled since then. This means that the value of ADQ’s stake in the company has increased from US$ 37.4 billion to US$ 71.9 billion, even though the ownership has dropped from 98.6% to 90.0%.
Now, one could argue that TAQA does not have the necessary free float and trading volume to make the stock price reliable, but the reality is that the company has become one of the largest utilities in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and is becoming a centerpiece in ADQ’s use of soft power overseas, from North Africa to Central Asia and beyond. Additionally, the portfolio company has been diversifying and taking over certain assets in Abu Dhabi Inc. including Masdar’s renewable and hydrogen businesses, so it is only natural that the value of the company is now higher.
ADQ’s subsidiary for special situations, ADG, has also been increasingly active, and has closed over 15 direct investments in start-ups from the US, the UK and Germany, to Turkey, Israel and India. ADG was the entity chosen to commit up to US$ 10 billion to Indonesia’s high-yield financial investments identified by its SWF, INA. Such commitment is not taking into account in our numbers, and could boost ADQ’s AuM even further.
The role of the entity chaired by Sheikh Tahnoon is not fully understood yet. If ADQ continues to monetize stakes in national champions, and to increase its weight into private equity and venture capital, its portfolio will look increasingly alike that of its sister organization Mubadala, which may lead to potential merger talks in the future.
Note: Global SWF tracks the activities, strategies and portfolios of the world’s major Sovereign Investors. For those SWFs whose AuM is not publicly available, we estimate it based on complex internal models, which take into account capital injections and withdrawals, investment returns, and an up-to-date valuation of all major holdings.