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2010 Mar 28

Waha Assembly Approves AED 1 Billion Mandatory Bonds or Sukuk

Abu Dhabi, March 28, 2010: The General Assembly of Waha Capital PJSC, the leading investment holding company enlisted on ADX, approved recommendations of the Board of Directors to issue mandatory convertible AED 1 billion bonds or Sukuk, in addition to distributing bonus shares worth 12.5% of the company's paid-up capital. The announcement came during the Ordinary General Assembly and the Extraordinary General Meetings that took place today in Abu Dhabi, chaired by His Excellency Hussain Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of Waha Capital, in attendance of the company’s board members, stakeholders and executive management.

His Excellency Hussain Jassim Al Nowais commented: "Issuing bonds comes in line with the great growth and achievements witnessed at Waha since its new strategy launch in 2008. During the previous period, we unveiled several key initiatives that helped in leveraging the company’s strength and competitiveness on both local and global levels, which will ultimately benefit its stakeholders and partners in the public and private sectors."

According to Al Nowais, issuing the bonds will consolidate the financial strength of the company and support its vital projects in a number of economic sectors. He added: "It will definitely play a major role in spreading benefits to a larger segment of UAE Nationals by enabling them to actively participate in the success of one of the leading national companies. Waha’s management is working relentlessly to identify investment opportunities and drive forward economic growth in Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E. as a whole."

Al Nowais highlighted that 2009 was suffering the consequences of the financial crisis that influenced the performance of some sectors on local and international levels. He noted that Waha Capital managed to dodge any negative effect thanks to its long term investment policy, based on revenue stream diversification and the identification of new investment opportunities. He noted: "Over the past year we have announced several key investment initiatives in line with our proven strategy. The investments also reflect Waha's serious commitment to improving its performance, by executing innovative investment and financial programmes, while ensuring new revenue streams."

In February 2009, the U.A.E. Armed Forces mandated Waha Capital to arrange and manage the purchase of several military aircraft, valued at approximately AED 11 billion. Al Nowais explained that the deal is the first of its kind in the region and reflects the government's trust in Waha's performance, expertise and outstanding capabilities in providing high quality financial services.

He noted that the first phase of the deal was completed in December 2009, and included the purchase of nine military aircraft on behalf of the U.A.E. Armed Forces in a deal valued at approximately AED 6.7 billion. Al Nowais explained that Waha is coordinating with the U.A.E. Armed Forces to execute the coming phases of the project which will be announced later this year.

The Waha Capital Chairman highlighted developments within Waha Land, the company’s real estate arm, including the launch of the Al Markaz multi-use project in Abu Dhabi in April 2009. Citing some of the highlights, he said, "The development will occupy an area of six square kilometers and includes an integrated complex of storage facilities and warehouses, light industrial structures, as well as housing projects that can accommodate up to 28,000 people."

Al Nowais continued, "The company started work on the first phase of the project in December 2009, beginning with ground leveling and infrastructure installation. Work on completing the project within the stipulated deadline will continue, as the first phase worth AED 4 billion is scheduled for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2011."

Other company highlights detailed by Al Nowais include the April 2009 acquisition of a 50% stake in Aerventure Ltd, part of the Dutch company Aercap Holdings, one of the leading NYSE-listed companies in the aviation sector, with assets in excess of AED 8.8 billion.

He noted that the deal contributed to furthering the competitive edge Waha Capital has built in local and global markets as Waha Capital manages more than 100 aircraft on four continents with a market value of AED 16 billion.

Al Nowais went on to talk about Waha Maritime’s inauguration of its first two support vessels, the 2009-built AHT Waha I and Waha II, which are now active in Abu Dhabi after being launched in August 2009.

He explained that the company leased the vessels to one of Abu Dhabi’s leading national companies specialized in oil and gas, as a result of the increasing demand for such high performance equipment in the region.

Salem Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Waha Capital, said, "We have witnessed numerous unprecedented challenges in light of the financial crisis last year, and its consequences remain unclear. However, such circumstances have also resulted in investment opportunities and possibilities for new initiatives in a number of economic sectors, particularly in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Waha has capitalized on these opportunities as others were reluctant to push forward their investment programmes at both the local and global levels."

Al Noaimi noted that during 2009, the company made significant leaps forward in achieving growth and excellence in numerous projects and specialized programmes. These reflect our overall goal of achieving growth through the company’s diversification strategy, which has been designed to generate the greatest return on investment for our shareholders, while protecting their rights.

He added, "Waha Capital's outstanding financial performance in 2009 is a further testament to the strength of our strategy in leveraging Waha Capital's capabilities to further its investment plans in different sectors."

He went on to say that Waha is constantly monitoring global and local market indicators and performance. He said: "This helps us in selecting strong investment opportunities. In the near term, we will continue to identify additional opportunities, conduct appropriate research and choose the right time to invest."

He concluded: "As our results have proven, despite the economic downturn, we still see strong investment opportunities with high profitability and lower risk, particularly in the U.A.E. markets, where we are studying a number of investment opportunities across various sectors."

Waha Capital has recorded the highest profits since it was established in 1997, with net profit growing to AED 217 million as of 31 December 2009 compared to AED 40 million during the previous year, representing an increase of 442%. The company’s total operating income also grew 71% over 2008 to AED 846 million, while its operating profits increased by 351% compared to the same period in 2008, reaching AED 212 million. As of 31 December 2009, the company’s operational assets stood at AED 4.3 billion.

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