Abraaj Capital announces record US$1.2 billion second closing of its Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund



    
    -   IGCF becomes largest private equity fund in history focused on MENASA
        region
    -   Second closing driven by strong response from across MENASA, Asia and
        Europe
    -   Abraaj has made five investments to date for IGCF, including Air
        Arabia, GEMS, EFC, Al Nouran Holding and Acibadem
    

    DUBAI, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - Abraaj Capital, the premier investment firm
specialising in private equity investment in the Middle East, North Africa and
South Asia (MENASA) region, announced today a record US$1.2 billion second
closing of its Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund (IGCF), providing the
fund with total commitments of US$1.7 billion as of September 30, 2007. The
first closing of IGCF yielded US$500 million by December 31, 2006.
    IGCF, which is expected to be capped at US$2 billion upon final closing
before the end of 2007, is now the largest private equity fund in history
focused on the MENASA region. The international fundraising efforts were led
by Deutsche Bank, which is also a partner in IGCF.
    Abraaj has already made five investments for IGCF during 2007, including
a strategic pre-IPO stake in Air Arabia, the first and leading low-cost
carrier in the MENA region; the 100 per cent acquisition of Egyptian
Fertilizers Company (EFC), which was the largest private equity-led leveraged
buyout in the history of the MENA region; a strategic stake in Global
Education Management Systems (GEMS), the leading K-12 education provider in
the Middle East; and a strategic stake in Acibadem, Turkey's leading
healthcare operator.
    Using its own corporate resources, Abraaj and its co-investors have made
investments totaling over US$1.4 billion, of which the IGCF component comes to
approximately US$800 million. As a result, almost 40 per cent of IGCF was
invested even before the second closing, providing a huge potential upside to
investors.
    Arif Naqvi, Chief Executive Officer of Abraaj Capital, said: "Over the
past few months, Abraaj has been delighted by the response from the investor
community in Asia, Europe, North America and across the MENASA region,
including pension funds, family offices, university endowments, insurance
companies and financial institutions. In fact, 92 per cent of the total cash
raised comes from such institutional investors. Based on our track record and
our unrivalled access to deal flows across the region - and the particular
appeal of IGCF - we secured US$1.2 billion in fresh commitments to the fund,
profoundly broadening our investor base with 30 per cent of those commitments
coming from outside the MENASA region. This was significantly in excess of our
expectations for the second closing and positions us very nicely for the
planned final closing before the end of this year."
    He continued: "The transactions in which we have invested are
exceptional, representing companies that are market leaders in their
respective sectors, which should enable us to comfortably surpass our
benchmark returns. Indeed, we expect the fund to be fully invested within a
two-year time frame, a record that will greatly benefit the investors who have
participated in this fund."
    Sheikh Abdulrahman Ali Al-Turki, Chairman of Abraaj Capital, commented on
this development: "These fundraising activities have provided access to
MENASA's compelling economic story for the first time to a new group of
investors from the global financial community. As such, Abraaj is now a major
conduit for international capital flows into our region, which is clearly
well-positioned in terms of sustainable economic growth and public-private
partnerships for many years to come and is being perceived as such by the
global investment community."
    Ashok Aram, Head of Capital Markets CEEMEA at Deutsche Bank, led the
global fundraising programme on behalf of IGCF and added: "A second closing at
a high level for IGCF in less than a year since the fund's activation is an
achievement, particularly considering the current global investment climate.
It has allowed us to offer our international investors a chance to participate
in the growth opportunities in the MENASA region."
    The key targeted sectors for the fund include: Education, Transportation,
Ports, Healthcare, Power and Utilities, Oil and Gas, Petrochemicals and
Industrials. The investment opportunities in these sectors exceed well over
US$630 billion, according to "The Infrastructure Investment Requirements of
the MENASA Region," an Abraaj Capital research report.

    About Abraaj Capital: Abraaj Capital is the premier investment firm
specialising in private equity investment in the Middle East, North Africa and
South Asia (MENASA) region. The management team has brought together some of
the most compelling and successful transactions in the history of leveraged
acquisitions across the region.
    With close to US$4 billion of assets currently under management, Abraaj
has pioneered institutionalising private equity practice in the region and is
setting trends and benchmarks for others to follow.
    Abraaj is the winner of industry awards including 'Middle East Private
Equity Firm of the Year' from Private Equity International (2006 & 2007), the
Banker Middle East Award for 'Best Private Equities Institution' in 2006 and
for 'Outstanding Contribution to Financial Services in the Middle East' in
2007. Arabian Business recently recognized Abraaj among the 50 Most Admired
Companies in the GCC. Abraaj is also the first pure private equity firm to be
registered by Dubai Financial Services Authority to operate out of the Dubai
International Financial Centre.
    IGCF is Abraaj Capital's seventh fund. In addition, Abraaj Capital
Holdings Limited (ACHL) is also the single largest shareholder in the leading
regional investment bank EFG-Hermes. ACHL itself is extremely well
capitalized, with an issued share capital of US$1 billion. Its 135 employees
come from 27 nationalities and achieve a coverage that spans the MENASA
region. For more information please visit www.abraaj.com.





For further information:

For further information: Nolan Reeds, Edelman Public Relations, Tel:
(416) 979-1120, E-mail: nolan.reeds@edelman.com

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