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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Drone technologies, green industries among OIA investments in 2022

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MUSCAT, NOV 29


Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the integrated sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman, says its portfolio of investments in domestic and international assets has grown significantly during the current year.


These investments – part of the Authority’s “journey of continuous development” – encompass a broad array of sectors, including drone technology development, climate adaptation solutions, cyber-security, cloud computing, EV battery materials, real estate and tourism, food security, and pharmaceuticals.


“OIA, alongside its (subsidiary and affiliated) companies, continue their journey of constant growth, marking, in 2022, a number of new investments and partnerships that target economic diversification in line with Oman Vision 2040, profitability, and financial stability,” said the Authority in a post on Tuesday.


OIA’s first notable announcement this year was its participation in a round of fundraising in support of US-based food innovation start-up MycoTechnology. That came less than two months after the establishment of Vital Foods Technologies, a partnership between OIA and MycoTechnology to support the implementation of a major alternative foods-based project in Oman. Muscat-based Vital Foods Technologies aims to capitalize on the latter’s proprietary fermentation technology to produce alternative protein from Omani dates.


Around mid-year, OIA signed a deal with US-based Crusoe Energy Systems aimed at harnessing the latter’s capabilities in utilising flare gas for high-performance cloud computing and other digital technology based innovations – activities designed to mitigate the planet-warming impacts of gas flaring as well.


Also noteworthy was its decision, in July, to invest in BioGenomics, a developer of biosimilar pharmaceuticals with a focus on diabetic therapeutics. The company produces and develops an array of insulin medications in collaboration with a local Omani firm.


Underscoring a commitment to supporting breakthrough technologies in the green energy space, OIA recently joined a number of strategic international investors in injecting new funding into Ascend Elements, a US-based engineered materials and lithium-ion battery recycling firm. That decision came on the heels of OIA’s investment in Group14, a leading US company manufacturing trailblazing battery materials.


Complementing these investments were initiatives by OIA subsidiaries to grow their individual portfolios as well during the year. The Oman Infrastructure Investment Fund (Rakiza), for example, is leading the development of a new Central Fruits & Vegetables Market in Khazaen Economic City. Recently, it also firmed up a stake acquisition in a company that will acquire Omantel’s telecom towers.


Likewise, Oman Food Investment Holding Company (Nitaj) is setting up a coconut plantation and coconut materials manufacturing unit, under the brand ‘Janaen’ in Salalah. A Nitaj-owned subsidiary is also expanding the capacity of its camel milk processing network in Dhofar.


IDO investments, a technology-focused subsidiary of OIA, is investing in ‘Jupiter One’, a cyber-security company specializing in cloud asset management. It is also supporting 44.01, an award-winning company that has pioneered solutions to tackle planet-warming carbon emissions.


OIA’s ICT-centric arm ITHCA is investing in drone technology solutions of Omani owned start-up Horizon Oman.


On the maritime and transportation fronts, Asyad Group – a subsidiary of OIA – is collaborating with Etihad Rail in the development of a railway link between Sohar Port and the UAE rail network. Its shipping arm has also deployed a container vessel as part of fleet of four chartered ships.


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