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UAE’s Tabreed is interested in Dubai airport district cooling deal: CEO

Dubai-listed National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed) is interested in acquiring the district cooling unit that serves Dubai International Airport, Tabreed Chief Executive Bader Al Lamki said on Monday.

Tabreed has been on a shopping spree during the COVID-19 pandemic, snapping up assets in locations such as Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, home to a louver museum. It also acquired an 80 percent stake in Dubai developer Emaar’s downtown district cooling business for 2.48 billion dirhams ($675 million).

“Dubai (international) airport has been in the market. We are looking at it. We will see how it goes,” Al Lamki told Reuters in an interview.

District cooling firms deliver chilled water via insulated pipes to offices, as well as industrial and residential buildings. With 86 district cooling plants, Tabreed services developments such as the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Dubai Opera and the Dubai Mall.

Dubai International’s 2020 passenger numbers fell 70 percent to 25.9 million as the pandemic crippled travel demand. In 2019, before the pandemic, it saw 86.4 million passengers, making it one of the world’s busiest airports.

Tabreed raised $500 million in October through the issuance of a 7-year bond, with 95 percent of the participants being international investors, Al Lamki said. The company, part owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala and

France’s Engie, has enough residual funds from the issuance to work on “one or two” more transactions, the CEO said. However, Tabreed could look at additional financing instruments in the future, he added.

Earlier on Monday, Tabreed reported a 16.5 percent increase in 2020 net income to 550 million dirhams.

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