Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Company and General Electric yesterday announced a business cooperation agreement spanning several areas, including an $8 billion commercial finance joint venture.

Mubadala, which is characterised as a sovereign wealth fund, also plans to become a long-term shareholder in GE. ôThe expectation is that Mubadala will become one of GEÆs top 10 institutional investors through the open market, as conditions allow,ö Mubadala and GE said in a joint statement. No further financial details were disclosed. GEÆs shares closed at $27.69 on Monday after falling 1.11%.

Over the next three years, the two firms will invest $4 billion of equity each to create a jointly owned global commercial financial services business, headquartered in Abu Dhabi. The company will start business in one year. For GE, the JV will provide better access to opportunities in the Middle East and Africa, while Mubadala will gain access to GEÆs commercial finance capabilities. The business will initially focus on investment opportunities generated through GE CapitalÆs existing origination capacity, with targeted assets in excess of $40 billion.

GE and Mubadala will also establish a clean energy technology centre located in Masdar City, a new city in Abu Dhabi which is MubadalaÆs alternative energy initiative. Also housed in the Masdar facility will be a new corporate learning programme for which GE will manage the curriculum, courses and instructors.

GE will also commit up to $50 million to MasdarÆs second Clean-Tech Fund, while Mubadala will invest up to $200 million in GE Industrial Investment Partners û a new partnership of select global investors that will focus on providing growth capital to companies in the healthcare, energy and transportation industries.

GE and Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT), MubadalaÆs Middle Eastern aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul company, will work together to enable ADAT to support the large and growing number of GE aircraft in service in the region.

ôThis partnership is consistent with our global growth initiatives and builds on our long-term relationships in a high-growth region like the Middle East,ö says Jeff Immelt, GE's chairman and CEO. ôWe can use our unique financial and industrial capabilities to establish profitable relationships across a number of businesses and we welcome them as a long-term shareholder.ö

GE has a stated focus on the region and registered revenues of over $5 billion in the Middle East in 2007, an increase of 50% over 2006.

GE and Mubadala have been working together for more than four years and currently jointly manage an infrastructure fund (Mubadala Infrastructure Partners) that invests in major projects in the region. GE is also an anchor partner in the Masdar initiative.

Mubadala is a sovereign wealth fund headquartered in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. It manages a multi-billion dollar portfolio of local, regional, and international investments, projects and initiatives. MubadalaÆs sole shareholder is the government of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.