Duet-CI Capital Egypt fund appoints new head

The fund will focus on consumer-facing sectors, specifically FMCG, and expects to make its first investment by the end of the year, Amr Helal tells Private Equity International.

Duet-CI Capital, a joint venture between London-based Duet Group and Egyptian investment bank CI Capital, has appointed Amr Helal to head its Duet-CI Capital Egypt Opportunities Fund, according to a statement.

Helal will join as senior managing director of the $300 million fund, which was established in 2014. He was previously a managing director at UAE-based Abraaj Group based in Egypt, where he oversaw the firm’s Egyptian investments.

The Egypt Opportunities Fund is fully raised, Helal said, declining to comment on its limited partners.

The fund is backed by Nile Holding Investments, an investment vehicle owned by Egyptian businessman Nassef Sawiris, which has provided up to 25 percent of commitments, according to reports.

It will pursue growth capital investments and buyouts in Egypt and provide financial, operational and strategic support to portfolio companies, the statement said.

“We are broad-minded in our sector approach but we are focused on consumer facing sectors driven by a growing middle class, and our sweet spot is FMCG. We are looking to deploy around $50 million per ticket,” Helal said.

The fund is considering a number of opportunities and expects to announce its first transaction in the fourth quarter.

When asked about political and economic uncertainty in Egypt, Helal said: “The political situation has stabilised over the past 12 months. That drives confidence and that is starting to translate into quarterly GDP. We aren’t out of the woods and more needs to be done for investment and growth to pick up. But the trend is moving in the right direction.”

The fund is looking to deploy its capital over the next 18-24 months, generating returns “north of 25 percent”, Helal said. It expects to hold its investments for four to five years.

In terms of future exits, Helal said there was appetite from regional strategic investors for Egyptian companies and there were more public market opportunities in Egypt, the region, and internationally. “London is a possibility,” he said.

With Helal’s appointment, the team managing the fund is now four people. “We will expand as we go along,” Helal said.

Seifallah Zoghbi joined the fund earlier in the year as managing director, the statement said.

Duet is also investing in sub-Saharan Africa. Its first fund focused on the area is targeting $300 million and is expected to hold its first close by the end of the year, as previously reported by Private Equity International.