x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abraaj looking for acquisitions in Arab Spring economies

Abraaj Group is among Gulf investors targeting acquisitions in North Africa as a surging population boosts demand for products from health care to food and banking.

Abraaj Group, the Dubai-based private equity firm with US$7.5 billion in assets, is among Gulf investors targeting acquisitions in North Africa as a surging population boosts demand for products from health care to food and banking.

Abraaj plans to raise as much as $250 million for a second North Africa fund after fully investing its first, Ahmed Badreldin, the firm's head of the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview.

Majid Al Futtaim Holding, a Dubai-based owner and operator of malls and hypermarkets, is buying the Metro supermarket chain in Egypt and is also building a mall outside Cairo, chief executive Iyad Malas said.

Investors from the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are seeking to deploy cash into industries benefiting from consumer spending in North Africa even as political turmoil trap the Egyptian economy in its worst slowdown for two decades.

"There is this myth that Arab Spring economies have no growth, no opportunities," Mr Badreldin said at the World Economic Forum in Jordan May 24. "That's not really the case." The firm's existing businesses in North Africa are increasing revenue by about 20 per cent a year, he said.

Abraaj has stakes in more than 30 companies in the Middle East and North Africa, including medical laboratories in Egypt, an aircraft maintenance facility in Jordan, supermarket chain Spinneys and Cairo-based technology company OMS. It usually invests a maximum of $100m in a company, he said.

 

* Bloomberg News