Global buyout firm KKR is to base its fledgling Middle Eastern operations in Dubai, after receiving a license from the Dubai Financial Services Authority to operate from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
“We are pleased to note that a globally respected firm such as KKR has chosen Dubai as their base to operate across the MENA region,” said Abdulla Al Awar, managing director of the DIFC Authority.
KKR appointed a head of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in September last year. Makram Azar joined from the now-defunct Lehman Brothers, where he was global head of sovereign wealth funds.
Azar’s remit is to build a team to lead the firm’s advance into the MENA region, where it will invest in both private equity and infrastructure transactions and also fundraise. As reported in September, the firm will also look out for co-investment opportunities with other institutions based in the region.
KKR follows The Carlyle Group in seeking to penetrate the private equity industry in the MENA region, which is dominated by local firms.
Carlyle closed its first MENA-focused fund in March this year on $500 million. The fund, which was launched in 2007, will invest in healthy companies in various sectors, including energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, infrastructure, technology and transportation.