* State energy firm TAQA sells 7 pct stake in Tesla
* Says stake sold for a profit of $113 mln
* TAQA buys 50 pct interest in Kurdistan power plant
(Adds details, background)
By Dinesh Nair
DUBAI, April 8 - Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA),
a state-owned oil explorer and power supplier, has sold its 7
percent stake in
Tesla Motors Inc, cashing out from the U.S. electric
carmaker's steady stock rally.
TAQA, which is 75-percent owned by the government of Abu
Dhabi, said it made a profit of $113 million on the sale, which
was effected through the stock market and at Tesla's last
closing price would have fetched $250 million.
Tesla, founded in 2003 by a group of Silicon Valley
engineers, is best known for for the Tesla Roadster, a car
launched in 2008 and now sold in 32 countries.
Carmakers Daimler and Toyota also own
stakes in the company, which expects to turn profitable in 2013
and sees revenues this year nearly tripling, spurred by
deliveries of its premium electric sedan, the Model S, set to
begin in July.
Tesla shares have risen 21 percent year-to-date and have
doubled from its 2010 listing price of $17 on bullish investor
sentiment towards the electric car industry at a time of rising
TAQA said it had sold the 7.3 million shares transferred to
it by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) in
"While TAQA respects and has admiration for Tesla's vision,
technology and products, Tesla was a non-core investment for
TAQA that was originally made by ADWEA and transferred to us. We
hope to use the profit to pursue energy opportunities in the
MENA (Middle East North Africa) region," said a TAQA spokesman.
Oil-rich Abu Dhabi, which accounts for more than half of the
UAE's economy, is reviewing its overseas investment portfolio as
part of measures to instill more discipline in dealmaking among
its investment firms.
The emirate is still the largest shareholder in Daimler
through its sovereign wealth fund Aabar Investments.
In a separate statement, TAQA said it bought a 50 percent
interest in a Kurdistan power plant, which has been operating
since 2009. The power plant has a capacity of 750 megawatts,
with an additional 250 megawatts under construction, TAQA said.
The company signed a joint venture agreement with Mass
Global Investments Co Ltd for the purchase, it said.
"There is a 15 year take or pay agreement (750 MW) in place
with the Ministry of Electricity, Kurdistan Region. The facility
receives gas from an underground pipeline connecting the Khor
Mor gas field to the plant," said Virtanen.
Semi-autonomous since 1991, Kurdistan has enjoyed more
security than the rest of Iraq and energy majors have flocked
into the region with big investment plans.
Abu Dhabi-listed TAQA, which invests in oil and gas
overseas, also runs power plants in Morocco, Saudi Arabia,
Ghana, India and the United States and plans to start oil and
gas operations in north Africa.
TAQA is a major shareholder in the Netherlands' Bergermeer
gas storage facility with capacity of 4.1 billion cubic metres,
and is also involved in an offshore gas production project in
the Dutch North Sea.
(Reporting by Dinesh Nair; Editing by Sitaraman Shankar)