As well as his increasing involvement in the strategic affairs of his father UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MbZ), as Intelligence Online reported yesterday, Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is also carving out his place in the business world. Last month, his company Ethmar Holdings announced plans to list on the Abu Dhabi stock market, offering 13% to 15% of its stock to investors in a $200m operation that could value the company at more than $1bn.
While the operation satisfies a particular wish of MBZ's - the ruler has asked his brother and financial spymaster Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan to create a world-class financial centre in Abu Dhabi (IO 14/09/22) - Hamdan bin Mohammed is also looking to develop his own business portfolio.
One of MBZ's lesser-known sons - his brothers include Crown Prince Khaled bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Theyab bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (IO, 22/07/22) - Hamdan bin Mohammed has still profited from his family heritage to build a business empire. He began with the company HMZ Holding, but it is with the spin-off Ethmar Holdings, a holding company with interests in technology, trade (a division called Rabdan), real estate and oil (EHC), that he is positioning himself in growth areas of Abu Dhabi's economy, starting with the defence industry.
Getting in on the security rapprochement between the UAE and Israel, he launched the drone supplier SkyGo in September 2021 as a joint venture with Apex, a subsidiary of Tahnoon bin Zayed's powerful International Holding Co (IHC) fund. In February, SkyGo launched a joint venture with Israeli drone manufacturer Airobotics with a view to equipping the UAE with twenty-odd surveillance drones. Airobotics was previously accompanied to Dubai, before the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel, by Israeli businessman Shlomi Fogel (IO, 28/12/22).
After consulting Tawazun, the UAE fund in charge of military acquisitions, Rabdan Industries, another defence subsidiary of Ethmar, launched the 50-50 joint venture Falcon with Australia's Amaero. The new company plans to manufacture titanium in the UAE ready for the local subcontracting of future defence contracts with Amaero's clients such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raython and Safran.
Sultan Al Dhaheri, one of the London directors of the holding companies of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is a long time adviser of Hamdan bin Mohammed. With Mansoor Almheiri, they are both vice-presidents of Ethmar. They work with the company's CEO Ali El Gebely. Those three individuals constitute a team working on developing Hamdan bin Mohammed main businesses.
Hamdan bin Mohammed owns Middle East Security Services (MESS), a company based in Beirut that provided security for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Lebanon in 2012 in conjunction with the Lebanese armed forces and now protects several embassies. He is also the majority shareholder of Airolink, a Dubai-based construction company has been involved in several projects at the Al Minhad air base for the Australian, American and Emirati armed forces.
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