While investments in North America and Europe make up a chunk of Mubadala's portfolio, the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund is shifting its attention to emerging-markets where it is currently "underweight," namely in China, India, Japan and South Korea, according to Macapili Languille whose unit is in charge of international healthcare investments.
"The U.S. will continue to be a core market for us not only for healthcare but in general for the broader private equity business," she said. Still, "we have always had an interest in Asia."
Mubadala's healthcare investment division writes "smaller checks of $200 million to $500 million," in Asia, compared with up to $1 billion in North America and Europe, she said, "but again, we have flexibility to move up."
In the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is a part, companies and funds have been moving closer into the orbit of China and India, bolstering their investments and trade ties by inking agreements worth billions of dollars. The Gulf country recently joined the BRICS grouping of major emerging markets, which includes both those Asian nations.
Abu Dhabi is considering announcing investment pledges worth as much as $50 billion for India, Bloomberg News has reported, with deals under discussion including stakes in key Indian infrastructure projects and state-owned assets. China has also emerged as an increasingly attractive jurisdiction, though the UAE's deal-making there has drawn scrutiny from U.S. officials.
Mubadala is one of Abu Dhabi's three main wealth funds, charged with helping diversify its oil-rich economy. Last year, it combined its health business with G42 Healthcare, creating a new entity called M42 — the largest firm of its kind in the Middle East, according to its website.
"The overall plan for that business does include a potential initial public offering," Macapili Languille said. Although there are no immediate plans to move in that direction yet, "if an IPO were to materialize, I think that would be a great outcome for that business," she said.
Macapili Languille said dealflow within the global healthcare sector should start to stabilize this year.
"Interest rates have started to steady," she said. And despite still high levels of macro-economic and geopolitical instability, "both management teams and boards are becoming more and more comfortable operating in that environment."