SHUAA launches $100m fund

The Dubai-based firm’s new Frontier Opportunities Fund I LP will initially focus on Syria, as well as Lebanon and Jordan.

SHUAA Partners, the private equity arm of Middle East-based investment bank SHUAA Capital, has announced the launch of its second private equity fund.

The new fund – the Frontier Opportunities Fund I LP – is targeting $100 million (€79.4 million) for investing in the telecommunications, financial services, hospitality and other sectors in primarily Syria, as well as Lebanon and Jordan.

According to SHUAA Partners chairman Iyad Duwaji, Syria’s potential for foreign investors is “tremendous”, particularly in light of improved economic growth and the greater inflows of capital sourcing from Gulf and expatriate Syrian investors.

“Reform and an improved trade and investment climate will be key to sustaining the current surge in capital inflow,” Duwaji – who is also chief executive of SHUAA Capital – was quoted in a press statement. “The market has not been tapped by professionally managed funds before, and we are well positioned to attract and execute transactions in Syria given our expertise in the region as a whole, and my first hand knowledge of the country.”

“Our management team understands the various intricacies of the Levant region, and has experience executing deals in Jordan and Lebanon,” said Abe Saad, managing director of SHUAA Partners, in the press statement. He added, “We are optimistic about the changes in the economic climate in the region and are encouraged by the developments taking place in Syria in particular.”

Duwaji and Saad, along with SHUAA Capital general counsel Gary Feulner and chief operating officer Kerim Mitri, comprise SHUAA Partners’ investment committee. Saad heads up SHUAA Partners’ Dubai-based professional team of six.

SHUAA Partners’ debut fund – the oversubscribed, $200 million SHUAA Partners Fund I – made its final close in September of last year. Fund I has an opportunistic sector focus, and it targets countries in and neighbouring the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). Thus far, SHUAA’s first fund has deployed 38 percent of its committed capital in three investments, including the UAE-based jewelry retailer Damas, oil and gas facilities services provider Petrofac, and regional hotel management company Rotana Hotels.

SHUAA Capital was set up as an investment bank in 1979 and previously co-managed the $55 million MENAVEST fund with Capital Trust since 1998.