Abraaj shifts focus from regional funds

The Arif Naqvi-led firm is reportedly well on its way to a sizeable first close on its first global fund.

Abraaj Group, the emerging markets private equity investor, is shifting to a global model – investing in its markets from one global pool of capital – rather than specific regional and country funds, a source close to the firm has confirmed.

The firm currently runs separate funds for Latin America, Africa and North Africa as well as numerous country funds, such as those investing in Turkey, Palestine and Pakistan, according to PEI data. This generation of funds will continue to be invested and managed as per their original remit.

The global fund has a target size of $6 billion, according to three sources with knowledge of the firm, and could invest in around 50 portfolio companies. A Bloomberg report earlier this week said the firm could raise up to $8 billion for the fund and was likely to hold a first close by the end of June on $4.5 billion. A spokeswoman for the firm declined to comment on the firm’s fundraising activity.

Alongside its numerous regional and country-specific funds, Abraaj has raised four flagship buyout funds since it was established in 2002. The most recent of these, Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV, closed on $2 billion in 2011. Performance data on Abraaj’s funds are not available and the firm declined to comment.

The flagship fund family focused on Abraaj’s home markets of the Middle East. The new fund will invest across Asia, Central Asia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

In the last year the firm has also raised its first sector-specific fund: the Growth Markets Health Fund, which is understood to have attracted commitments of $1 billion.