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Fri 15 May 2020 08:59 AM

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Abu Dhabi-backed bid to buy stake in Amanat Holdings

At the end of April, shareholders approved plans to move Amanat's listing to Abu Dhabi from Dubai

Abu Dhabi-backed bid to buy stake in Amanat Holdings

Amanat’s biggest shareholders include Invest Bank PSC, which owns 16.2 percent of the company, Emirates Investment Bank, which holds a 10.15 percent stake, and Chimera Investments LLC, which has 6.07 percent of the business.

A company backed by a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family is in talks to buy a stake in Amanat Holdings PJSC, an investment firm with interests in health and education, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

One of the businesses led by Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is in early-stage discussions to invest in Amanat, which has a market value of about $524 million, the people said. It wasn’t immediately clear which entity Sheikh Tahnoon would use for the potential transaction, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Any deal would add to a buying spree by companies under Sheikh Tahnoon’s control as the emirate uses the coronavirus pandemic to snap up stakes in key industries such as food supply and health-care. Abu Dhabi, holder of about six percent of the world’s oil reserves, recently agreed to buy a stake worth more than $1 billion in one of the Middle East’s largest hypermarket chains as it seeks to diversify its economy away from crude.

No final decisions have been made, and discussions over an investment in Amanat could still fall apart, the people said. A spokesperson for Amanat declined to comment. A representative for Royal Group, where Sheikh Tahnoon is chairman, said none of the companies under his management has plans to invest in Amanat.

At the end of April, shareholders approved plans to move Amanat’s listing to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. The stock has rallied since, gaining 5.6 percent this month, compared with a 6.5 percent decline in Dubai’s benchmark index. Volumes traded in the stock in May are three times higher than the six-month daily average.

A spokesperson for Amanat declined to comment. The talks could still fall apart, the people said.

A successful transaction would come at a crucial time for regional hospital operators facing pressure due to the coronavirus outbreak. The United Arab Emirates has 21,084 cases and 208 deaths of the illness.

The sector has also been hit after allegations of fraud at London-listed Middle East hospital operator NMC Health Plc, which has been put under administration after revealing more than $4bn of undisclosed borrowings. Amanat said earlier this year it expects the region’s health industry to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7 percent by 2022.

Sheikh Tahnoon is the chairman of Royal Group, which owns a stake International Holdings Co. PJSC - an investment company that generated most of its revenue last year from fish farming - as well as interests spanning media, trade, financing and real estate.

He’s also the chairman of Abu Dhabi Development Holding Co., or ADQ, which owns Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Abu Dhabi Airports Co. and a number of hotel and tourism facilities. Sheikh Tahnoon also chairs the UAE’s biggest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC.

IHC didn’t respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment, while representatives for Royal Group couldn’t be reached. ADQ declined to comment.

Amanat’s biggest shareholders include Invest Bank PSC, which owns 16.2 percent of the company, Emirates Investment Bank, which holds a 10.15 percent stake, and Chimera Investments LLC, which has 6.07 percent of the business, according to its website.

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