Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Capital has held a first close on its buyout fund, GC Equity Partners II, on AED1.75 billion ($476 million; €336 million). The fund is targeting AED2 billion, which it expects to reach in July.
Though individual limited partners have not been named, Gulf Capital said it has attracted commitments from “some of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, insurance companies and financial institutions in Asia, Europe, the US and the GCC”.
“More than 60 percent of GC Equity Partners II investors are from outside the GCC region … many of whom have studied the region and decided to invest in it for the first time,” said Muhannad Qubbaj, the firm’s managing director of business development.
The firm itself committed more than AED550 million to the fund, which was launched in conjunction with Credit Suisse Alternative Investments in the second half of 2008. Credit Suisse was the second largest investor in the fund, according to a spokesperson for Gulf Capital, and “made significant international investor introductions” for the firm via its private funds group.
The fund will seek late-stage control stakes in established companies within the GCC region in sectors such as oil and gas, power and water, healthcare, education and logistics. Its portfolio includes UAE-headquartered water treatment company Metito, Dubai-headquartered interiors contractor Depa, and Dubai-headquartered mobile phone company i2.
Gulf Capital was established in 2005 with a capital base of AED1.225 billion raised from more than 250 local investors. Its first third party fund was launched in 2007 and raised $162 million. GC Equity Partners II is its first third party fund to allow co-investment on deals.
In March 2008, the firm entered into a “long-term strategic” alliance with Credit Suisse Alternative Investments. A statement released at the time said both firms would commit a “significant amount of capital” to the alliance, which would see them partnering on private equity transactions across the Middle East.