Embattled SHUAA loses PE head

Anis Bibi has resigned from Dubai-headquartered SHUAA Capital, which is slashing 11% of its workforce amid first quarter losses.

After three years on the job Anis Bibi has left his role as day-to-day head of private equity operations at MENA-focused investment bank SHUAA Capital. 

Anis Bibi

“In February I chose to resign from the firm in order to pursue some independent initiatives,” Bibi wrote in an email to friends and colleagues, noting Thursday would be his last day. Neither SHUAA nor Bibi could be reached for comment. 

The private equity arm's chief executive is Sameer Al Ansari, who joined in 2009 from Dubai International Capital. Aside from Bibi, the only other executive listed on SHUAA Partners' website is Jamil Brair, a director who joined the group in 2004.

Bibi joined SHUAA from Fortress Investment Group in 2008. At Fortress, Bibi was a London-based member of the team investing a special situations- and credit-focused hedge fund. 

SHUAA’s private equity arm, SHUAA Partners, closed its first fund in September 2005 on $200 million. Its second vehicle, Frontier Opportunities Fund I, closed on $100 million in 2007. The firm also has also launched two hospitality-focused funds.

SHUAA Partners has been relatively quiet post-financial crisis, with most of its professionals focused on portfolio management. Some market sources have speculated the group would have difficulty raising another traditional private equity fund given senior level turnover and turmoil experienced by the parent investment bank in recent years (see related links to right for past coverage). The group had been undergoing a strategic review led by Bain & Co., and was expected to retool its strategy to focus on sectors including healthcare, education and infrastructure services. 

Earlier this month SHUAA Capital revealed a first quarter loss of AED 26.3 million (€5 million; $7 million), its third loss in four quarters. Following the poor performance the bank said it was slashing 11 percent of its workforce, representing 39 full time employees. The cuts, predominantly made from its back office and support functions, are expected to net the bank AED 30 million in annual savings. 

The political turmoil that started in late January has served to keep financial markets subdued

Majid Al Ghurair

SHUAA Partners, meanwhile, recorded a loss of AED 5.9 million in Q1 2011, primarily stemming from “valuation adjustments in the private equity funds SHUAA co-invests alongside its clients”, the bank said. The team’s assets under management remained unchanged at AED 1.9 billion. 

Following the first quarter loss, the bank appointed a new chairman, Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, who replaces Majid Al Ghurair. 

“While signs earlier in the year pointed to a recovery in our core markets, the political turmoil that started in late January has served to keep financial markets subdued. We have seen low trading volumes across regional exchanges and corporate transactions put on hold. Given this backdrop, SHUAA Capital has shown its resilience and its business lines are all making good progress,” outgoing chairman Ghuraia said in the first quarter earnings report.