Abu Dhabis International Petroleum Investment Company has ballooned this year, having spotted opportunities amid the global crash.
Ipic was created in 1984 to help secure Abu Dhabis oil markets. Its chairman is Sheikh Mansour Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabis crown prince. Its investment in Barclays last year was outside its mandate, and Ipic sold down half its investment for a profit in June.
The purchase of Canadian petrochemicals company Nova for $2.3 billion this February is more indicative of its direction. The declining market for Novas products had hit its stocks and bonds. There were worries about its ability to meet debt obligations.
"We can provide stability and allow Nova Chemicals to meets its operational and financial requirements while continuing to expand and invest in its business," Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi, Ipics chief executive, said in a statement.
In March, Ipic took a 70% stake in German ship manufacturer Man Ferrostaal for $670 million.
Ipic is also buying 32.5% in Spanish oil firm Cepsa from Santander for $5.5 billion.
Previously Ipics investment, now worth about $16 billion, was financed through capital injections from the government. But this year it has been more active on the bond and loan markets.
The firm is the majority owner of Aabar, another Abu Dhabi investment vehicle, which has a broader mandate. This recently acquired a 9% stake in vehicle manufacturer Daimler.