Sharia-compliant MENASA fund holds $200m first close

Bahrain’s Ithmaar Bank, Shamil Bank and the Islamic Investment Company have held a first close on their mutli-strategy private equity fund targeting $500 million.

Aldar Private Equity Fund, a Sharia-compliant direct investment and fund of funds vehicle targeting investments in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, has held a first close on $200 million (€135 million).

Backed by Bahrain’s Ithmaar Bank, Shamil Bank and the Islamic Investment Company, the fund is targeting $500 million and will make private equity investments as well as investments in other global alterative assets including real estate and “possibly” Sharia-compliant hedge funds, according to a statement.

“This fund is one of many alternative asset and private equity funds that we will be rolling out in the coming months and years,” Ithmaar Bank chief executive Michael Lee said in a statement. Lee, who founded and managed the $730 million Islamic Development Bank Infrastructure Fund, is chairman of the fund’s investment committee.

Mohammed Hussain, fellow investment committee member and Shamil Bank CEO, remarked: “One of the main objectives of the fund will be to invest in companies just before expected surges in revenues and profits. Investment opportunities in Asia are particularly attractive, given the recent economic performance in China and India.”