Ex-Abraaj team takes another tilt at launching new fund

Potential LPs told North Africa-focused RMBV in 2020 that they would need to see more DPI from its prior vintages before committing to a new vehicle, PEI understands.

RMBV, a North Africa-focused manager led by a team of former Abraaj Group executives, is making another attempt at raising a new private equity fund, Private Equity International understands.

RMBV – which became independent of the now-collapsed Abraaj in 2019 – is seeking between $300 million and $400 million for North Africa Fund III, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. It is aiming to hold a first close before year-end.

This marks RMBV’s second attempt at raising a third fund, with the firm having first approached LPs about the vehicle in 2020, PEI reported at the time. However, potential investors wanted to see money returned from its €115 million 2008-vintage Abraaj Kantara Fund and $375 million 2013-vintage North Africa Fund II before committing to another, the source noted.

RMBV has been actively returning capital to LPs since 2020. Last year, the firm closed a roughly $150 million continuation fund transaction that involved moving Fund II asset Care Healthcare, which owns a shareholding in the largest hospital group in Egypt, into a vehicle named RCare, which was backed by new LPs, the source said. All existing investors exited their position for a more than 3x return.

Fund I is fully exited and Fund II holds stakes in four of its nine portfolio companies, one of which is listed, the source added. Both funds together have delivered more than 100 percent DPI. RMBV distributed more than $200 million to investors through exits on local equity markets and the RCare transaction last year, compared with $55 million in 2021, according to its website.

RMBV declined to comment.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has proposed a $60 million commitment to Fund III, which it will approve on 29 November, according to a disclosure.

Existing LPs in RMBV’s funds include German investment firm DEG, the European Investment Bank and Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets, PEI previously reported. The UK’s CDC Group, French development agency Proparco and the International Finance Corporation have also previously invested, per RMBV’s website.

RMBV targets equity and equity-related investments in mid-cap companies primarily in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, the EBRD document said. It is led by managing partner Ahmed Badreldin, who was previously head of MENA at Abraaj; partner Adel Goucha, formerly a managing director at Abraaj; and Samia El Baroudy, formerly an associate director at Abraaj, its website said.

The firm’s current portfolio includes e-commerce business MaxAB, which was acquired via a special purpose vehicle in 2021; Egyptian education group Taalem; and Algerian diaper manufacturer Cepro.

MENA-focused fundraising, though limited in scale, is on the up. Funds targeting the region collected $9.6 billion from 2020 to 2022, compared with $5.39 billion over the preceding three years, according to PEI.