Abu Dhabi Ports Group debuts on stock exchange

by The Associated Press (APR)

Abu Dhabi Ports Group began trading for the first time Tuesday on Abu Dhabi’s stock exchange, following a US$1.1 billion capital raise from a primary issuance ahead of its listing.

AD Ports Group, which operates ports, logistics and industrial zones in the United Arab Emirates, traded at the equivalent of around 98 cents a share, or 3.60 dirhams. The company said it will use the capital raised from its listing to fund its plans to expand locally and internationally.

The company is majority owned by ADQ, one of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds. ADQ has a stake of 75.44 percent in AD Ports Group. The exchange shows the company is more than 98 percent owned by Emirati nationals.

The move to list AD Ports Group comes nearly two years after major UAE global port operator DP World announced it was delisting from Dubai’s stock exchange and returning the company to full state-ownership. The move was aimed at helping the Dubai government’s investment company repay more than $5 billion to banks.

Abu Dhabi is where most of the UAE’s oil and gas wealth sits. The income generated by its vast energy reserves has helped transform the 50-year-old nation and the lives of its local population of just over a million citizens, who rely heavily on global food imports.

The UAE’s ports are nestled on the western coastline of the Persian Gulf. The UAE has positioned itself as a key gateway linking East and West, using logistics and ports to diversity its economy and create new revenue streams.

Ahead of the listing, major shareholder ADQ transferred ownership of its 22.32 percent stake in logistics firm Aramex and a 10 percent stake in UAE-based contractor National Marine Dredging Company to AD Ports Group.

The ports company owns and operates 10 ports in the United Arab Emirates and one in Guinea. It also manages a number of industrial zones locally. It recorded revenue of $760 million in the first nine months of 2021, with earnings of $316 million before taxes and other costs. Global trade volumes have increased since the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

“Driven by our leaders’ vision to diversify our economy, we have built a market-leading business,” said AD Ports Group chairman Falah al-Ahbabi in a statement. “We welcome our new shareholders, and we are confident that we are well-positioned to take the next step on our journey of sustained growth and global expansion.”