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Dubai International Capital and Istithmar: Dubai investment arms flex their buying muscle

Dubai’s investment agencies might not have the scale of their counterparts from other parts of the Middle East but they are becoming voracious buyers of assets. Who are they and what are their plans? Sudip Roy and Simon Brady profile the people and strategies behind Dubai International Capital and Istithmar as they join the ranks of the world’s most powerful investors.

The new kid on the block: Istithmar, the investment arm of conglomerate Dubai World

DIC looks to spread its investment wings: DIC, international investment arm of conglomerate Dubai Holding

                                                                                             More on the Qatar Investment Authority

THINK OF INVESTMENT agencies in the Middle East and a few names spring immediately to mind: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia), Kuwait Investment Authority and Qatar Investment Authority. Combined, these funds are fast approaching the $1 trillion assets under management mark.

Compared with these three, Dubai’s main investment vehicles, with less than $50 billion of assets, are small. But recent events suggest that it will soon be possible to add Dubai International Capital (DIC), Dubai Investment Group (DIG) and Istithmar to a list comprising the most powerful institutional investors in the world. Over the past few years, the three Dubai funds have become voracious buyers of assets in all regions across all asset classes but especially in private equity, real estate and public equity.

In their short existence – Istithmar and DIG were created in 2003, DIC in 2004 – the three funds have invested in blue-chip companies including DaimlerChrysler, Time Warner and Standard Chartered; prime real estate in the US, UK and Middle East; emerging markets assets such as SpiceJet, Bank Islam and Bank Muscat; and in funds run by private equity houses such as KKR, Carlyle and 3i.

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