Abu Dhabi kicks off privatisation drive

30 July 2004
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan issued a decree on 27 July establishing a new holding company aimed at privatising state-owned industries in the emirate. The newly-created General Holding Company (GHC), a public joint stock company chaired by Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, will take control of assets formerly owned by General Industries Corporation (GIC). Scrapped in 2002, GIC owned six factories in various sectors producing fodder, pipes, cement, iron and steel.

Under the terms of the decree, GHC will launch the first initial public offering (IPO) in Emirates Foodstuff & Mineral Water Companyin September, making shares available to UAE nationals and local pre-selected companies.

'The aim of selling these factories partially or fully and transferring their ownership to the private sector ultimately leads to the creation of a partnership between the public and private sectors,' said Sheikh Hamed, who is also chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economy, in a statement. 'This will also activate the stock markets in the UAE as the companies get listed.'

The advisers on the privatisation programme are HSBC(financial), Abu Dhabi Investment Company(marketing), Simmons & Simmons(international legal adviser) and Hadef al-Dhahiri & Partners(local legal).

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