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Aabar Invests $20M 
in Xojet; to Launch
Business Airline

/ 11 February 2010

ABU DHABI — Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments Company, has agreed to invest $20 million for shares in the US aviation company XOJET Inc, and the two companies will be setting up a joint venture private aviation company in the UAE.

XOJET  is a private airline company that offers private jet services to business and leisure travelers in the US and to various other destinations.

“Aabar and XOJET  are intending to join together to create a UAE based joint venture company that will provide first class private aviation services to various destinations within the MENA region,’’ Aabar said in a statement posted on the website of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange or ADX here on Wednesday. This is the second instance of purchase of shares by Abu Dhabi-based investment groups in the entities related to aviation sector, in the recent periods.

Couple of days back, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, or ADIA, considered to be the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has purchased a significant stake in London’s second-biggest Gatwick Airport. The stake is estimated to be as large as 15 per cent of the airport’s total shares and worth $196.4 million.

Aabar directly invests in various sectors including energy, infrastructure, real estate, automotive and financial services companies. Its largest stakeholder is the International Petroleum Investment Company, which in turn is wholly owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi-listed Aabar Investments Company, which had recently acquired 70 per cent stake in the UAE’s construction giant Arabtec, had posted a net profit of  Dh 1.68 billion  in 2009, representing a massive increase from Dh 0.72 billion recorded in 2008.

Aabar officials were not available for any comments on when will the new JV in the private aviation sector be floated and how many aircraft will have it on its fleet initially.

The aviation experts however said just like the commercial aviation sector, business aviation was also performing well in the Middle East, despite the global financial downturn. “The companies with big business jets have not been hit significantly by the downturn in the region,’’ John Morgan, the vice president, commercial Royal Jet which is a leading player in business aviation sector in the region told Khaleej Times here. — ramavarman@khaleejtimes.com

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