UAE’s ADNOC buys ZMI Holdings in offshore oil and wind push

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The United Arab Emirates’ main energy company has bought privately-owned ZMI Holdings as it looks to bolster its offshore oil, natural gas and wind businesses.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. will acquire all of ZMI, which is based in the UAE and also known as Zakher Marine International, according to a statement. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

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ZMI said it will probably make record earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization this year of more than $300 million, helped by a surge in oil and gas prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Companies in the sector are typically valued at anything between five and 15 times Ebitda.

ZMI will retain its brand and continue operating as a standalone entity, though it will come under ADNOC Logistics & Services, an arm that ADNOC is considering listing, Bloomberg reported in February.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised ZMI and Moelis & Co. worked with ADNOC.

ZMI was established in 1984 and employs around 1,400 people in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and China, where it won its first contract -- for an offshore wind project -- last year. The firm’s fleet of 62 support ships and barges is valued at roughly $1.6 billion, Finance Director Ahmed Omar said in an interview.

Wind Power

Oil and gas still make up most of ZMI’s business, though it sees its wind division growing rapidly in the coming years as governments and investors shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“The energy transition played a large role in ADNOC’s view of the business, ZMI’s chief executive offer,” Ali Hassan El Ali, said in the same interview. “A large part of the strategy is to continue expanding geographically.”

The CEO is the son of ZMI’s founder and sole shareholder, Hassan Abdelkader El Ali.

ZMI began talks with ADNOC in 2020. It considered an initial public offering but was partly put off by this year’s slump in global equity markets, Omar said.

“It’s been a lengthy process,” he said. “ADNOC has ambitious plans for the business. We wanted to make sure we were aligned.”

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