File photo of Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla
Kumar Mangalam Birla is set to partner with Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and invest in Zand, UAE’s first digital only independent bank, people aware of the deal told Economic Times.
As per the report, the plan was initially to deploy $50-$100 million but the quantum may go up in future as the business scales up.
The investment is expected to be from Birla’s private family office, the report stated.
The central bank of the Emirate is set to bless the investment, making Birla the first Indian to invest in its banking system.
As per the report, Zand plans to service both retail and corporate customers.
Emaar Properties founder Mohamed Alabbar, the developer behind The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, has invested in the company and will serve as chairman.
Al Nahyan’s investment vehicle Al Hail Holdings and Birla will be the latest high profile backers of the venture.
“This would set the foundation for a deeper long term association,” Birla family watcher said to the daily.
“Al Nahyan is a key figure in the region. So other than the commercial angle of backing a new venture in a fast disrupting space, this is far more strategic. This potentially opens the door for similar such alliances to get replicated across the GCC. This is not a company to company deal, but for the first time two leading family offices are joining forces.”
Birla will be the fourth to business with Middle East, after Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani and Tata’s N Chandrasekaran.
Meanwhile, Dubai had signed an accord to build infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government had said on Monday, at a time when the Himalayan region is seeing a resurgence in violence. No figure for the value of the accord was given.
The memorandum of understanding by Dubai, will be the first investment agreement by a foreign government in the sensitive region following the withdrawal of Kashmir's autonomy and conversion into two union territories.
Earlier on October 12, there were also reports that Birla is expected to infuse a token sum of less than Rs 1,000 crore into Vodafone Idea.
Sources with direct knowledge told Moneycontrol that Birla’s contribution is expected to be a small amount, and may be less than even Rs 1,000 crore.
As Vodafone Idea plans to reach out to investors to back them after the telecom relief package, a show of confidence from a promoter entity may help the company, a source pointed out.
Sources also told Moneycontrol that there is no agreement between the government and Vi for a large sum of Rs 10,000 crore fund infusion by promoters Vodafone Plc and Aditya Birla Group.
KM Birla, who is Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, had stepped down as Chairman of Vi, but had put his efforts into convincing the government for a telecom relief package, which could help the company manage its cash flows.