Dubai’s Abraaj to launch $500m Fund II

Abraaj Capital, the Dubai-based buyout firm, is launching its second fund with a target of $500m.

Abraaj Capital is launching the Abraaj Buyout Fund II later this month with a target of $500 million (€379 million). The target size for the fund – which will seek opportunities in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia – is a more than fourfold increase on the firm’s predecessor $116 million Fund I, which closed in June 2003.

Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Turki, chairman of Abraaj, told Middle Eastern newspaper Gulf News: “The launch of a fund of this size, something that has not been done before in the region, will encourage our industry to look into new opportunities that have not been explored before.”

Hussain Nowais, vice chairman of Abraaj, indicated in the same report that the firm had already received commitments totalling in excess of $200 million.

The current portfolio of Abraaj includes Bahrain-based financial services company Amwal Capital, Pakistani securities and investment banking firm BMA Capital Management, and United Arab Emirates water treatment system company Septech Emirates. Most recently, in January 2005, it backed the $55 million privatisation of Joramco, the Jordanian aircraft repair and maintenance company.  
Last June it exited from Oman investment company ONIC Holding on the Muscat securities market. It currently hopes to list transport company Aramex International on regional stock markets.

Abraaj says it has invested close to $500 million in private equity transactions, generating an internal rate of return of more than 35 percent over a nine-year period.