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Private equity: Abraaj leads Gulf buyouts

Opportunities rising in private equity; $11 billion sitting on sidelines

Fred Sicre, Abraaj

"A young and growing population means there are huge opportunities"

Fred Sicre, Abraaj

The Middle East may see bigger than ever private equity deals in the coming months and years as investors left with billions of dollars of unused capital raised just before last year’s oil, property and stock market crashes start to put their money to work. A recent industry report reckons that private equity funds in the Gulf have $11 billion waiting to be invested. With prices now more stable, investment opportunities are once again becoming apparent. The best evidence of this came last month with the announcement that a regional private equity firm is in talks to buy a minority stake in Dubai Ports World. DP World is the Middle East’s largest ports operator and one of the region’s flagship companies. Its $5 billion IPO at the end of the 2007 was the Gulf’s largest-ever listing, but the stock price has since fallen by about 70%.

Zawya Dow Jones, a newswire, says that unidentified government officials named the private equity firm in question as Dubai’s Abraaj – a company that focuses on buyouts in the Middle East, North Africa and south Asia.