Gulf Capital, one of the largest Middle Eastern private equity firms, announced today the final closing of its latest private equity fund, GC Equity Partners II. The Fund was heavily oversubscribed with final commitments totaling approximately AED 2 billion (US$ 533 million), making it the largest private equity fund raised in the region in 2009.
In a marked departure, GC Equity Partners II was the first ever regional private equity Fund to derive the majority of its investors from international markets including the USA, Europe and Asia. The composition of the investor base includes some of the largest and most prestigious global and regional sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments, banks and insurance companies.
Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital, said: “We are particularly gratified both by the size of our latest fund raising efforts and by the quality of international and regional investors attracted. This strong traction and level of commitment is a powerful endorsement of the Gulf Capital franchise, at a time when capital raising has been extremely difficult for almost any type of investment. With this latest Fund, Gulf Capital will continue its proven strategy of creating value for investors by acquiring sizeable and controlling stakes in highly profitable market leading businesses and accelerating their growth ahead of an eventual exit.”
“This vote of confidence from our international and regional institutional investors puts Gulf Capital at the forefront of Private Equity investing in the region. Our sophisticated investors from around the globe trust our sound investment strategies, and we are particularly gratified that they chose Gulf Capital to channel their investments into the region” said Muhannad Qubbaj, Managing Director of Business Development Private Equity at Gulf Capital.
Investments worth approximately AED 588 million (US$ 160 million) have already been closed by GC Equity Partners II and include Ma’arif for Education and Training (the largest Saudi educational group), Technoscan (the largest chain of radiology imaging centers in the Middle East) and Gulf Marine Services (the largest operator of offshore jack-up barges in the Gulf). The combined equity participation in all three transactions committed to date account for 30% of the Fund’s available capital. Other target industries for the Fund include power and water, food, logistics, aviation and other services.
Muhannad Qubbaj added: “Our focus remains on demographically-driven sectors and those that will benefit from strong governmental spending in the region. Like its predecessor funds, GC Equity Partners II will be invested across a broad range of defensive sectors and geographical locations within the Middle East.”
Dr. Karim El Solh concluded: “The Gulf region is still enjoying significant growth and we expect it will lead the global recovery along with China and India. The substantial amount of capital at our disposal from this Fund will allow us to take advantage of the unique investment opportunities ahead of us. It is a particularly good time to invest in the GCC region, given the increasing quality deal flow, reasonable valuations and the improving regional macro fundamentals”.
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