Arqaam Capital working on 6-7 deals

Dubai-based regional investment bank Arqaam Capital sees growing opportunities for cross-border mergers and acquisitions in the mid-cap space, and is working on at least six such deals, its head of corporate finance said.

Tamer Makary said the bank was involved in six or seven active transactions with deal sizes between $20 million and $250 million.

"The cross-border M&A space is seeing appetite ... and for the first time, the M&A market is being driven by rational, mid-cap deals," Makary said in an interview with Reuters on Monday.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the Middle East is expected to show a rebound in 2011, with the value of deal activity in the region to rise by 20 per cent to $28-$30 billion, a recent survey said.

Arqaam recently acted as sole financial advisor to Indonesia's Bank Kesawan during its 734 billion rupiah ($82 million) rights issue to Qatar National Bank which has given the latter a controlling stake.

Makary said Indonesia and the wider southeast Asian region was an attractive market for Gulf investors.

"Indonesia, Malaysia are attractive entry points ... There are opportunities in financial services, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals," he said.

Arqaam Capital has participated in two transactions between the Middle East and Indonesia in the last 12 months, a company statement said.

The firm is also increasingly focusing on deal flow between the Middle East and Africa. Makary said he saw opportunities in Kenya as a gateway into East Africa, and logistics, agriculture, and even banking, as sectors for potential activity.

Middle East M&A values fell sharply during and after the 2008 financial crisis, with buyers demanding closer scrutiny of target companies' books before making a purchase and sellers clinging to pre-crisis valuations.

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