Last Updated: Thu Jun 14, 2012 18:54 pm (KSA) 15:54 pm (GMT)

Abu Dhabi fund books $3.4 billion loss on Daimler, UniCredit

IPIC, which reported a 97 percent drop in 2011 net profit on Wednesday due to “both market and economic volatility,”  (File photo)
IPIC, which reported a 97 percent drop in 2011 net profit on Wednesday due to “both market and economic volatility,” (File photo)

Abu Dhabi’s state-owned fund International Petroleum Investment Co posted a $3.42 billion loss on stakes held by its unit in automaker Daimler and Italian bank UniCredit in 2011, all but wiping out its profit.

IPIC, which reported a 97 percent drop in 2011 net profit on Wednesday due to “both market and economic volatility,” released full financial results on Thursday detailing the loss on the two European groups held by its unit Aabar Investments.

The fair value loss on its 9.1 percent stake in Daimler stood at $2.25 billion in 2011 versus a $1.3 billion gain in 2010, IPIC report said. Its UniCredit fair value loss was $1.17 billion versus a $239 million loss in the previous year. It holds a 4.99 percent stake in the Italian bank.

“As a diversified investment holding company, Aabar’s investments were subject to dramatic market volatility in 2011,” IPIC, which also owns stakes in Spain's Cepsa and Austrian oil group OMV said in the statement.

Shares in UniCredit fell 58.5 percent in 2011, while Daimler shares dropped 33 percent, resulting in the valuation loss.

The losses were partially off-set by gains on derivative transactions entered by Aabar with relation to the stake buys in both the entities.

The fund had a $1.9 billion derivative gain on Daimler shares and a $953 million gain on UniCredit stock, which helped ease the net loss from financial investments to $1.5 billion, the statement showed.

State-owned fund Aabar became Daimler’s largest investor after buying a 9.1 percent holding for 1.95 billion euros ($2.66 billion), or 20.27 euros per share, in 2009 through a capital increase that excluded existing shareholders.

In April, sources told Reuters that the fund was looking at a gradual sale of its 9 percent stake in the automotive group. A German magazine earlier reported plans of a stake sale.

Aabar enters into complex derivative strategies to limit its downside while acquiring large stakes.

The fund, which was a cornerstone investor in commodities giant Glencore last year, restructured a derivative collar transaction it entered into with regard to the Daimler stake, extending the collar maturity to 2015, IPIC said.

“Aabar restructured the maturity of collar for 63.6 million shares tied to Daimler shares,” the statement said.

The collar transaction was entered with Goldman Sachs Inc , who also advised the fund in its Daimler stake buy in 2009, four sources familiar with the matter said.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public. Aabar declined to comment. Goldman Sachs was not immediately available for comment.

A collar trade is an options trading strategy used to limit potential losses on acquisitions and lets buyers assume more debt to finance a deal. The trade also limits the upside and can lead to the other side demanding the collateral.

The strategy is created by purchasing an out of the money put option while simultaneously writing an out of the money call option.

Daimler’s 2011 annual report said the Abu Dhabi fund stated in February its stake had fallen further to 3.07 percent “due to a series of financing transactions” and that it had the right to redelivery of the shares.

The automaker’s shares were trading down 3 percent at 1200 GMT on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

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