IFC commits $25m to Citadel Capital(2)

The investment in the MENA-focused private equity firm’s debut institutional fund will be used to help companies in the region develop beyond their local markets.

The World Bank’s private investment wing International Finance Corporation (IFC) has committed $25 million to MENA Joint Investment Fund, Citadel Capital’s debut institutional fund.

The fund is targeting $500 million and aims to hold a first close in the second quarter of this year. It will invest in up to 10 mid- to large-sized platform companies in the MENA region, to help them expand beyond their local markets. The fund will invest in industries such as packaging, waste management and recycling, textiles, agribusiness and renewable energy.

Citadel will invest approximately $250 million alongside the fund, making a minimum equity investment of 10 percent in each company.

This April, IFC invested $17 million in the Sphinx Turnaround Fund, another Citadel fund targeting $100 million. This fund makes investments in businesses with distressed assets in Egypt.

In March, Citadel raised EGP275 million ($49 million; €36million) from existing shareholders through a fourth rights issue, taking the firm’s paid-in capital to EGP3 billion.

Previously, Citadel used its own permanent capital in its platform investments alongside co-investors. Deals were financed individually through opportunity-specific funds. Last year, the firm decided to change its investment strategy and raise an institutional fund to increase international institutional participation in its investments and to have capital ready to deploy at all times.

Citadel was founded in 2004 by El Khazindar and Ahmed Heikal, both former senior executives at regional investment bank EFG-Hermes. Headquartered in Cairo, the firm manages more than $8.3 billion in investments and has invested $750 million of its own capital across its funds and platform companies.