(Bloomberg) –Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala more than halved its shareholding in Italian bank UniCredit SpA as the holder of about 6% of the world’s oil reserves sells stakes in overseas assets.
The fund’s stake declined to about 2.02% as of Dec. 20, according a filing by the Italian market regulator, down from a 4.99% stake in June, Consob said in a statement late Tuesday. The stake sold by the fund is valued about 850 million euros ($947 million) based on yesterday’s closing price.
Representatives for Mubadala and UniCredit declined to comment.
Abu Dhabi’s fund bought the stake in 2010 as part of its strategy to diversify investments from the emirate’s oil-based economy. At the time, the holding was valued at about 1.8 billion euros. The fund, started as a means of diversifying the economy by attracting expertise and jobs to the emirate, is now a global investing powerhouse. The fund has invested in Greek fish farming, Europe’s biggest electric-scooter-sharing company and a Canadian data center.
Mubadala has been caught caught up in a series of investigations over the Malaysian government’s scandal-ridden 1 Malysia Development Bhd. In 2017, Mubadala committed $15 billion to SoftBank Group Corp.’s $100 billion Vision Fund and its monitoring its performance before deciding whether to sign up for the second round, according to Chief Executive Officer Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
The fund cut its stake move happened less than one month after UniCredit CEO Jean Pierre Mustier announced new business strategy, aimed at rewarding investors through 2023 through share buybacks and dividends totaling 8 billion euros.
Mustier is seeking to drive investor returns while signaling that the bank — in common with many of its peers — is struggling to boost growth in a time of negative interest rates. Revenue and costs are expected to be little changed through 2023 and the bank will focus on eking out what it can on its own rather than attempting major acquisitions.
UniCredit’s main investors are BlackRock Inc. and Dodge & Cox with about 5% stake each, according to the bank’s website. The bank’s shares have gained 28% in the last 12 months, compared with a 6% increase by the Stoxx 600 Banks Index.
Sovereign wealth funds own about 10.5% of UniCredit, while 65% is held by institutional investors, 5% by Italian banking foundations and 13% by retail investors, bank’s website shows.
–With assistance from Mahmoud Habboush.