Abraaj raises region’s largest ever fund, plans float

Abraaj Capital, the Dubai-based investment firm led by Arif Naqvi, has held a record close on its infrastructure and growth capital fund as it mulls listing on the Dubai stock exchange DIFX.

Dubai-based investment firm Abraaj Capital has announced a second closing on its growth capital and infrastructure fund on $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion). Fundraising continues as Abraaj pursues its $2 billion target.

Arif Naqvi

The firm is also considering an initial public offering of 20 to 30 percent of its management company, according to a source close to the company. The firm could raise up to $1 billion through an IPO on the Dubai stock exchange DIFX, according to the UK newspaper Financial Times.

PEO reported in September that Abraaj was expecting to hold its second close this month following a first close on $500 million in December 2006. The fundraising is being led by Deutsche Bank, which is also a partner in the fund.

At its present size, the fund is the largest-ever raised in the Middle East and North Africa region. Institutional investors make up 92 percent of the firm’s investor base, according to Abraaj. Around 30 percent of the investment came from outside the fund’s investment region of the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Asian region.

Abraaj’s chief executive Arif Naqvi said in a statement he expected the fund to be fully invested within a two year timeframe.

Abraaj has already made five investments from the fund. These include the record MENA buyout by a regional sponsor of the Egyptian Fertilizers Company for $1.41 billion earlier this year, and a strategic stake in Global Education and Management Systems (GEMS), a middle-eastern school operator.

The fund has already committed around $800 million as a result of these investments.