City & Corporate: Abu Dhabi energy firm in hunt for global shop

Taqa, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, is preparing a multi-agency pitch to find support for the firm's global comms.

The government-run energy investment firm currently retains Capital MS&L for investor comms and has used the wider MS&L network for global comms support around certain investments and transactions.

The brief encompasses Capital's retained financial comms work, but is also thought to include a wider global remit at a corporate level and comms work in support of deals when they arise. Capital and MS&L Group have worked with Taqa, which is 75 per cent owned by the Abu Dhabi government, since late 2007.

The firm is said to have asked for written submissions by the majority of the region's key players in financial PR and is in the process of drawing up a shortlist to pitch for the account. It is understood Capital MS&L will try to defend the account.

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company is publicly listed and has built a vast portfolio worth US$23.4bn.

The firm has investments across the globe in power generation, combined heat and water, desalination, upstream oil and gas, pipelines, services and structured finance.

Taqa's aggressive expansions since its 2005 float has seen it build significant energy investments in the UAE, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the UK, India, the Caribbean and the US.

However, this year has seen a change in strategy at the company, with a focus on retrenchment after an overhaul of its leadership team.

Peter Barker-Homek was removed as chief executive towards the end of last year, with Carl Sheldon being promoted to general manager.

Barker-Homek subsequently sued Taqa in the US, claiming he was forced out because he 'tried to put a stop to the kickbacks, bribery, accounting fraud and corruption'.

The firm has pledged to fight what it termed 'spurious allegations'.

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