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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

Abraaj unit co-chiefs quit board of management investment business

Omar Lodhi and Selcuk Yorgancioglu will no longer serve as directors of the board of Abraaj Investment Management, the company said

Arif Naqvi, founder of Abraaj. The firm is undergoing a restucturing. Rodrigo Arangua/AFP 
Arif Naqvi, founder of Abraaj. The firm is undergoing a restucturing. Rodrigo Arangua/AFP 

The co-chief executives of Abraaj Investment Management (AIML) are stepping down from the board of the unit, days after the Dubai-based firm agreed to sell the bulk of the business to Colony Capital, according to Reuters.

A court in the Cayman Islands appointed provisional liquidators for Abraaj Holdings and Abraaj Investment Management (AIML) earlier this month.

Omar Lodhi and Selcuk Yorgancioglu will no longer serve as directors of the board of AIML, the company said. It added that move does not change their co-chief executive titles.

Last week, Abraaj agreed to sell its Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa, North Africa and Turkey funds management business to US investment management firm Colony Capital.

Earlier on Monday, Abraaj Group, the buyout fund that is in the midst of a court-supervised restructuring, reached an agreement to sell its stake in Middlesex University’s Dubai campus to Amanat Holdings for about $100 million, sources told Bloomberg.

An initial agreement was signed but the deal is yet to close, the sources said. Dubai-based Amanat would own all of the UK-based university’s campus, which had annual revenues of about $40m, one of the sources said. Spokesmen for Abraaj and Amanat declined to comment.

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Amanat shares climbed as much as 3.9 per cent in Dubai, before paring gains to 1.6 per cent at 11.30am Gulf time. The shares were poised for their biggest increase in more than a month.

“The acquisition of Middlesex came in at a really good time for Amanat and a terrible time for Abraaj, who is selling it at what I see as a discount,” said Issam Kassabieh, senior financial analyst at Mena Corp in Dubai. “The stock movement indicates investors are happy with the company moving forward with its acquisition and it’s definitely a big plus to diversify their portfolio further.”

Abraaj was once one of the developing world’s most influential buyout firms. The firm's woes come after investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commissioned an audit to investigate the alleged mismanagement of funds.

Amanat, which owns 35 per cent in Abu Dhabi University Holding and 21.7 per cent in Taaleem Holdings, is seeking to expand its presence in the Middle East education sector. The company has about $490m to spend on acquisitions in health care and education, managing director Shamsheer Vayalil said in December.

The Dubai Middlesex campus opened in January 2005 and has more than 3,000 students from over 100 nations. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in a wide range of subjects.