Tabreed CEO hints at imminent acquisitions, says firm has growth mandate

Bader Al Lamki says any growth will be responsible, financially disciplined

National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed), Dubai Plant on Shk. Zayed Road Image used for illustrative purpose.

National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed), Dubai Plant on Shk. Zayed Road Image used for illustrative purpose.

Tabreed/Handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya

District cooling company Tabreed has a “mandate for growth” in 2021 but in a responsible, financially disciplined manner, according to its chief executive officer (CEO).

The Abu Dhabi-based company, which has launched a series of research and development projects to coincide with the “UAE Innovation Month", also hinted strongly that acquisition announcements are imminent.

Asked at a press conference whether the company would acquire district cooling facilities from Nakheel and Dubai Airport, Tabreed, CEO Bader Al Lamki said that “growth is the mandate”.

“We will continue to pursue that, but we can’t be specific for obvious reasons,” Al Lamki said.

“I want to stress that this is a responsible growth, a growth with financial discipline. We are a publicly listed company, but we are also a rated company. We are proud that our ratings have been reaffirmed by Moody’s and Fitch in terms of our strong financial credentials.”

According to reports last November, real estate developer Nakheel intended to divest its district cooling assets which have a capacity of 100,000 to 120,000 refrigeration tons (RT). Al Lamki confirmed to Zawya earlier this month that Dubai International Airport’s district cooling facility is an opportunity being considered by the company.

Al Lamki said the growth mandate is something that would receive continuous attention from Tabreed’s board of directors in 2021, following 2020, which saw the company add 40,000 refrigeration tons (RT) of organic growth and 180,500 RT of inorganic growth.

Funding options

Tabreed’s chief legal counsel Hamish Jooste said that “all options are open” when it comes to funding for future acquisitions.

“We are looking at an array of opportunities, that will require further funding if we are successful,” he said.

“All options are on the table in terms of what sources of finance we will look at. We are very agile when it comes to financing and we will be looking at all options. Nothing is off the table.”

The company also announced four pilot research and development projects, which are intended to increase the performance of Tabreed’s facilities by up to 30 percent compared to industry benchmarks.

One project includes the use of Carbon Nanotube (CNT) technology to enhance the performance and lifespan of cooling plants.

Artificial intelligence

The press conference also heard that the company will start using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict customer demand based on a weather forecasting system.

Wet bulb forecasting aims to more accurately forecast customer demand for each 24-hour period to allow for a more efficient operation by optimising production of cooling, using AI.

Information will be updated in real time, then data science will be used to develop models and correlations, which will then drive the performance of cooling plants.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Cleofe Maceda)

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© ZAWYA 2021

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