Aabar pumps $110m more into Virgin Galactic


Zawya Dow Jones  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai:  Abu Dhabi investment company Aabar Investments has boosted its stake in Virgin Galactic, Virgin Group’s commercial space line, to 37.8 per cent from 31.8 per cent, according to the prospectus for a planned bond sale by Aabar’s parent company.

Virgin’s billionaire owner Richard Branson
Virgin’s billionaire owner Richard Branson

Aabar, owned by Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co (Ipic) invested an additional $110 million (Dh404 million) in Virgin Galactic in July, boosting its stake by six per cent, Ipic’s preliminary bond prospectus seen by Zawya Dow Jones says.

Ipic is wholly owned by Abu Dhabi’s government, for which Aabar has served as a diversified investor. Aabar and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in 2009 announced a strategic partnership under which Aabar would pay $280 million for a 31.8 per cent stake in Virgin Galactic’s holding company.

At the time, Aabar said the acquisition valued that business at about $900 million. The acquisition was completed in 2010. In the July 2009 announcement, Aabar also said it had committed $100 million to fund small satellite launch capability, and that it planned to build a spaceport in Abu Dhabi. Aabar made significant other investments in the first half of this year.