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UAE wealth fund in $4bn bid to privatise Malaysian airport

A cargo plane lands at a Malaysian airport. MAHB’s airport network serves some of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets Malaysia Airports/X
A cargo plane lands at a Malaysian airport. MAHB’s airport network serves some of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets

A consortium that includes the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has announced a voluntary offer to acquire all the shares in Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) for nearly $4 billion.

The other consortium partners are Malaysian government-backed Khazanah Nasional and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and New York-headquartered Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

Upon completion of the offer, Khazanah ownership stake in MAHB will rise from 33 percent to 40 percent while EPF will hold 30 percent from existing 8 percent. Collectively, the Malaysian entities will own 70 percent of MAHB. 

The UAE’s largest sovereign fund and GIP will hold the remaining 30 percent, the consortium said in a statement.

The aim is to position MAHB for long-term sustainable growth by focusing on maintaining and upgrading airport infrastructure, enhancing passenger service levels and improving airline connectivity to support passenger and freight growth.

“These objectives will be best achieved by MAHB as a private entity, taking a long-term approach to decision-making and capital investment,” the statement said.

MAHB’s airport network serves some of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, which are benefiting from regional economic growth, increased air travel affordability and shifts in consumer spending, said Khadem Alremeithi, executive director of the infrastructure department of ADIA.

In May 2023, the UAE and Malaysia started negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) after non-oil trade between the two countries grew to $4.6 billion last year.

The Emirates is Malaysia’s 17th biggest trade partner globally and the second in the Middle East, accounting for 32 percent of Malaysia’s trade with Arab countries. 

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