Saudi’s Amwal to invest in Egypt


Private equity firm Amwal AlKhaleej plans to raise at least SAR1.3 billion ($350 million; Dh1.3 billion) for a third Amwal fund and expects to invest up to 30 per cent of that in Egypt, a senior official said on Tuesday.


Karim Saada, executive vice president and country head for Egypt, told reporters the company was preparing the prospectus and expected to launch the Amwal III fund in late summer.


While the company's first two funds raised money from a small select group of investors, the third fund could look further afield. "I think it will be broader," Saada said.


US investment bank Goldman Sachs will take part and Credit Suisse will probably join too, he added.


The Riyadh-based company, which specialises in taking a large minority stake in existing companies, said it was also looking at possible investments in Algeria as part of its regional expansion plans.


One investment in Algeria would be in a polypropylene plant in alliance with Egypt-based Oriental Weavers which calls itself the world's largest manufacturer of machine-made rugs and carpets.


The Algerian project would follow the model of a plant the two companies are working on in the Egyptian city of Port Said, which will produce 400,000 tonnes a year starting in the second quarter of 2010, using propane gas and exporting to Europe.


Amwal has a 15 per cent stake in that project, Saada said.


It is also in talks with fellow private equity firm Swicorp on a joint investment in an Algerian paint manufacturer which the government is privatising, he added.


Amwal's other investments in Egypt include a 20 per cent stake in Arabia Cotton Ginning, which Amwal is building up to become a consolidated textile conglomerate to include trade in raw cotton and making garments.


Saada said the company was looking to buy an international clothing brand but he declined to give details.


Another of its Egyptian investments, Contact Car Trading, plans to expand beyond car financing to include mortgages for real estate, using its expertise in credit rating, he said. (Reuters)