Hussain al Nowais
GHC plans $1.58bn industrial investment
Abu Dhabi, April 21, 2012
Abu Dhabi government-owned General Holding Corporation (GHC) plans to invest Dh5.8 billion ($1.58 billion) in the short-term in three industries to boost manufacturing as the oil-rich emirate tries to diversify its economy, its chairman said on Saturday.
The plans include Dh3 billion to expand capacity at Emirates Steel, Dh800 million in downstream aluminium extrusion and Dh2 billion in manufacturing seamless pipes for the oil and gas industry.
GHC, which has industrial assets totaling Dh23.7 billion, has interests in sectors including steel, oil and gas fabrication, cables, food and building materials. It is eyeing new industries such as aluminium and copper.
'Our strategy is to help speed industrial growth in Abu Dhabi which is targeting a 25 percent contribution from industry to the emirate's GDP by 2030. Today, it is below 15 per cent,' Hussain al Nowais told reporters.
Financing for the investments will be a combination of debt and equity, he said, adding GHC plans to raise $600 million in project finance over two years. It has appointed BNP Paribas as financial advisor.
Last year GHC borrowed Dh660 million ($180 million) from banks and invested Dh2.7 billion in various industries.
'Our debt-equity ratio is 1:1 and we have cash generated from profit. Debt could include bank borrowing, export credit agencies or even bonds,' he said.
GHC also said it made a net profit of Dh1.5 billion in 2011, up 15 per cent on the previous year, driven by sales and cost control. The profit came largely from two of its flagship firms, Emirates Steel and National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).
GHC, set up in 2004, owns a total of eight companies in the industrial sector, two others of which are listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market.
It may consider one or two more companies for a public offering in the short-term, once they achieve their targets, said Al Nowais.
Abu Dhabi, an Opec member, is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and real estate as it diversifies its economy away from oil.-Reuters