Gulf Capital closes Fund II on $544m

The Abu Dhabi-based firm, led by CEO Karim El Solh, has raised a significant portion of capital from investors in the US, Europe and Asia.

Gulf Capital has raised $544 million for its second fund, collecting for the first time a significant amount of capital from limited partners outside of the Gulf region.

The fund, which totals AED2 billion (€400 million; $544 million), was heavily oversubscribed and includes investors from the US, Europe and Asia, the firm said in a statement. Gulf Capital’s first fund totaled $162 million.

“The composition of the investor base includes some of the largest and most prestigious global and regional sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments, banks and insurance companies,” the firm said.

The firm invested AED550 million in the fund. Credit Suisse was the second largest investor in the fund and also “made significant international investor introductions” for the firm via its private placement group, Credit Suisse told PEO in a prior interview.

Karim El

The Credit Suisse investment was part of a strategic partnership the firm entered with Credit Suisse Alternative Investments in 2008. Under the partnership, both firms agreed to commit a “significant amount of capital” to partner on private equity transactions across the Middle East.

The fund is already 30 percent committed, having invested about $160 million in companies like Ma’arif, an education and training business, Technoscan, a chain of radiology imaging centers and Gulf Marine Services, an operator of offshore barges in the Gulf.

“Our focus remains on demographically drive sectors and those that will benefit from strong governmental spending in the region,” said Muhannad Qubbaj, managing director of business development private equity at Gulf Capital.

The downturn has forced private equity firms to look beyond their traditional sources of capital. Amwal AlKhaleej, a firm based in Saudi Arabia, is for the first time looking outside the region of the Middle East and North Africa for its third private equity fund, which is targeting $600 million. Amwal hired placement firm Triago to help it find investors outside the MENA region.

A US firm, Freeman Spogli, also is searching internationally for capital on its sixth fund, which is targeting $1.5 billion. The firm has raised about $450 million from its traditional sources in the US.