Abu Dhabi: The coronavirus outbreak in China will not have a long-term impact on Mubadala’s investment plans in the Chinese market, said its deputy chief executive officer, Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, who spoke at the Milken Institute Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Organised by the Milken Institute, the two-day summit brings together leading business executives; policymakers and analysts to discuss some of the key global challenges and what solutions could be formed to address them. And with the event taking place amid the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has already affected global markets and commodities, the topic was among the main ones that was raised at the summit’s opening.
“Certainly the Chinese economy is going to be affected, [but] nobody knows by how much. When we invest and when we think about how we’re going to deploy capital, we obviously don’t think about the short term 6-12 month cycle,” said Al Muhairi.
“What we tend to do is we like investing through a cycle … The first thing that you do [when investing] is you look at robust cash flow, and so that’s something that we’ve been doing for the last couple of years,” he added.
“If I look at the catalogue of the last 20-30 investments that we’ve done, it’s all about making sure that those businesses are able to provide the type of robust cash flow, both in good times and challenging times,” he said, highlighting the group’s long term thinking when making investments.
Al Muhairi said that China along with Russia would continue to be key markets for Mubadala, and highlighted how the group’s investments in Russia in particular, were paying off.
“Certainly we see opportunity in places like Russia and China … We’ve been in Russia for eight years now, we went in when everybody was coming out, there was a mass exodus of foreign investors in Russia when went.
“We took a cold rational look at those sectors [in Russia] that we think are interesting. [Today] we have large infrastructure positions in Russia; we have large energy positions in Russia [and] we took a few public market positions,” he added.
“Fast forward and we have 45 different positions in Russia, we are making double digit returns … and it’s one of the highlights of our overall portfolio,” he said.
Health care and education
Speaking closer to home, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, group chief executive officer and managing director at Mubadala, said that investments in the UAE’s health care and technology scene were high on its agenda.
“From an investment thesis… I’m all in when it comes to investing in the tech space, but then double click in the medtech [and] double click into life sciences. That’s an incredibly exciting area.
“You’re investing in a space that’s profitable, that’s very attractive and helps in solving world problems and helping humanity,” he added, also citing Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi — a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala — as a success story for the group’s vision in investing in health care.
On the education side, Al Mubarak said Mubadala wanted to act as a bridge between innovative ideas and helping them to become commercially viable through ventures such as Hub71.
“This is an area where we can add a lot of value as Mubadala, and certainly we’re playing our role right now in both health care and tech investing.”