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Abu Dhabi’s state holding firm ADQ hires more bankers as it steps up dealmaking By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A view of Abu Dhabi from December 15, 2009. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo

By Saeed Azhar and Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi’s $110 billion state holding company ADQ has hired scores of investment bankers from Western banks in the past year as it accelerates dealmaking in the United Arab Emirates and overseas, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Sources say that ADQ is the third largest sovereign wealth fund of the Emirate. It has recently hired investment bankers and management professionals from mostly overseas banks. This bolsters its already impressive cadre, which includes more than 20 ex-executives from Mubadala.

ADQ is extremely active. A senior investment banker spoke out on the condition that anonymity was necessary due to “commercial sensitivities”, saying they had been 20 and now have 120.

Recent new hires include former Perella Weinberg Partners’s banker Ayman Anwar, former HSBC banker Abhay Kumar, who also worked at ADNOC Distribution overseeing M&A, and ex-HSBC investment banker Hassan Abdelhamid, the sources said. LinkedIn profiles showed that the bankers had also moved to ADQ.

ADQ also hired Alok Elias (ex-Standard Chartered) and Silvia Barraino (ex Bank of America Merrill Lynch NYSE:) bankstresses.

Reuters reached out to ADQ for comments but they did not reply.

This hiring frenzy comes at a time when the fund has been increasing its appetite for foreign deals and is pursuing its goal of listing some state assets.

Aldar Properties from the UAE joined it in an attempt to buy up to 90% Egyptian property developer SODIC. The purchase would be worth $453 millions.

ADQ was founded in 2018 with key strategic assets like Abu Dhabi Ports. The state’s assets have been consolidated in both the agriculture and industrial sectors over time.

ADQ recently invested in future candidates for listing, such as India’s online retailer Flipkart. It also acquired Acino the Swiss pharmaceutical company. These are deals Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi wealth fund, is well-known for. Also, it bought shares in Louis Dreyfus commodities trading company.

Mubadala renamed in 2017 to be a globally focused investment company. It removed the development role that it had held for a year prior to ADQ’s formation. Mubadala was also the home of ADQ’s chief Executive Mohamed al-Suwaidi.

Diego Lopez, the managing director at Global SWF, an industry data specialist said that ADQ looks more and more like Mubadala each day.

ADQ is not only hiring heavily from its sister organization (at most 23 employees including its CEO), but also its investment strategy aligns very well.

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