Pharos Financial Group will launch two private equity funds this year, each of which is targeted to raise $350 million (Dh1.28 billion), a senior company official said yesterday.
"We have two PE funds in joint venture with Dubai-based Miro; one is an agriculture fund focused on Eastern Europe and Africa and other is a timber fund. The agriculture fund is expected to be launched with our first closing in the next 60 days while the timber fund by July.
"Additionally, we have an oil and gas private equity project, which focuses on Russia and former Soviet Union, which may include other regions of the world such as North America," said John J Papesh, Managing Director, Pharos.
The company expects to raise more than 50 per cent of the capital for its agriculture fund from the Middle East. The changing economic climate is clearly reflecting in increased investor confidence and the company is seeing increased interest, he said.
"Investor appetite is definitely stronger and has increased. People are still very cautious, prudent and pragmatic, and they are evaluating investment opportunity. But they are definitely looking to making investment choices and allocations. I see there is a remarkably increased level of activity. I am optimistic and feel that things are definitely improving," said Papesh. He said the firm is also planning a private equity project involving oil later this year.
"It may or may not be a fund as there are lot of investors interested in direct equity stakes or partnerships in a company structure. It depends on preferences from investors. While small institutional investors prefer funds, the large ones like to go through company structure."
In the long term, he said, "we are looking to expand, we may over the time be launching a new Mena fund, which is expected to be welcomed by Western and GCC investors".
The company, which opened its office in Dubai in 2008, said its presence in this region "has been a very good decision".
"Dubai is an important strategic part of our growth. Having exposure and being in the region, we are able to be in contact with investors from the GCC,'' said Papesh.