Abu Dhabi Buys Shares on Santander Brazil’s Initial Public Offering

Santander Brazil The biggest shareholder in Daimler AG, publicly listed Abu Dhabi fund Aabar Investments PJSC, invested US$ 328 million in Banco Santander (Brasil) SA by buying shares in its initial public offering.

Aabar bought American depositary shares issued by the Banco Santander (Brasil), a unit of Spain's biggest bank, Aabar said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse Monday.

"We hope to continue to strengthen and develop the existing relationship we have with Banco Santander and look forward to working with them in the future," Aabar Chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi said in the statement.

Aabar started as a small energy company but was transformed when its core assets were taken over by International Petroleum Investment Company which is wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

Aabar in March paid US$ 2.7 billion for a 9.1% stake in Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler, the world's second-biggest luxury carmaker. In July, it bought a 32% stake in Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Ltd. commercial space venture for US$ 280 million.

Santander plans to open 600 branches in Brazil by 2013 and carve out new business in lending to companies and homebuyers. The company, with more than 2,000 branches in the country, is Brazil's fourth-biggest non-state bank, with a market share of about 10 percent by assets.

Abu Dhabi is the largest and wealthiest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE and has spent billions trying to diversify its oil dependent economy and become an internationally recognized financial hub.

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