Capital Trust targets $300m MENA fund

The investment firm is preparing to go back to investors having nearly invested its $65 million regional fund, as activity continues in the burgeoning MENA region.

Capital Trust, a global investment firm, is set to raise its fundraising sights for its third Middle East and North Africa fund having nearly fully committed its $65 million (€43.7 million) Levant and Northern Africa fund, according to Gilles de Clerk from the firm’s MENA team.

The firm is aiming to launch a $200 million to $300 million fundraising effort in a few months time. It is targetting high net worth investors in the Middle East and institutional investors in the region and from Europe, de Clerk said. The firm raised its previous fund in 2006 and it has made seven investments so far.

This week it bought a 37.8 percent stake in an Egyptian software services company ITWorx for an undisclosed sum in a buyout alongside the Venture Capital Bank, which uses Islamic finance for venture investments, and Proparco, a private sector financing arm of France’s Agence Francaise de Developpement.

The firm’s second fund investments include a 5 percent stake in the Palestinian Stock Exchange and a 15.3 percent stake in Lebanese construction company Sadamco both bought for undisclosed sums.

The firm’s decision to expand its fundraising in the MENA region is part of a global trend. Domestic firm Abraaj Capital is approaching the final close of its infrastructure and growth capital fund for the region, while The Carlyle Group is also putting together a large regional fund. The MENA mid-market has attracted international firms such as HSBC Private Equity as well as Societe Generale Asset Management.