Gulf Capital and Credit Suisse team up

The Swiss bank is tapping Gulf Capital's local expertise and deal flow in a growth market, while the buyout firm looks to additional capital and to learn from the bank's experience in more mature markets.

Gulf Capital, a Gulf private equity firms, and Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank with $155 billion (€99 billion) in alternative managed assets, are launching a long-term strategic alliance focused on investing in the fast-growing Gulf and Middle Eastern economies. 

The two plan to commit a significant but undisclosed amount of investment capital to the alliance.

Brian Finn, chairman of Credit Suisse’s Alternative Investments business said in a statement: “[This alliance] brings out the best of each party: Gulf Capital’s on-the-ground presence, unique access to proprietary deal flow, proven investment expertise and post-acquisition skills, combined with Credit Suisse’s strength in managing private equity and alternative assets and regional and global investment and private banking capabilities.”

The Gulf Cooperation Council countries, with an average GDP growth rate of 6.3 percent and a robust population growth rate of 3.5 percent over the past five years, provide an ideal backdrop for investing in the region, the firms said. 

Karim El Solh, chief executive officer of Gulf Capital, said: “Gulf Capital has been very acquisitive in recent years and has bought market leaders in the water, oil & gas, telecom, construction and education sectors, some of the fastest growing industries in the region.  The launch of this alliance with Credit Suisse will enable us to continue our investing momentum and to target larger acquisitions in the region.

He said Credit Suisse’s expertise in leveraged buy-outs, its global footprint, financial strength and its debt and equity franchise in the Middle East would be helpful. 

Gulf Capital’s investment strategy is focussed on building stronger, more profitable regional businesses. Incorporated in Abu Dhabi in 2006 as a private joint stock company, Gulf Capital was established with a capital base of AED 1.225 billion ($330 million) from over 250 institutional and individual investors in the Gulf.

The firm’s portfolio investments include Metito, a water treatment business, Maritime Industrial Services, an oil and gas construction services business and Gulf Marine Services.