The Dubai company that's buying a 14 percent stake in Reno's Altair Nanotechnologies has interests ranging from motorcycle sales to production of fiberglass boats in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Yousuf LLC paid $40 million to purchase 11.48 million shares of Altair, which is developing batteries for electric cars as well as other nanotechnology applications.
The Dubai company, which is restricted from selling its Altair shares for two years and even then can sell only a third of its holdings each year, paid $3.50 a share. The stock was trading at $4.14 before the deal was disclosed.
The sale of stock gives Altair capital to ramp up its manufacturing operations and continue its research efforts. At the end of September, Altair had $14.8 million in cash on its books but had lost $17.9 million in the previous nine months.
Iqbal Al Yousuf, president of Al Yousuf LLC, said the company was drawn by what he called "a tremendous global growth opportunity" for Altair's battery technology, both for vehicles and for stationary applications such as power plants.
The privately held Dubai company traces its roots to a family that began trading rice husks used for fertilizer and graduated into trading of textiles, gold and pearls.
In the early 1960s, it began importing Yamaha motorcycles into Dubai even though the emirate at the time had no paved roads and it now runs a big General Motors dealership in Dubai.
It's also involved in real estate development, computer sales and manufacturing of boats under license from Yamaha. With operations in six countries, the company employs about 3,000.
Its purchase of the stake in Altair was arranged by J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. Al Yousuf bought $10 million in shares on Nov. 30 and is scheduled to pay for the remainder today.