Gulf Capital to invest Dh1bn a year



Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Capital, one of the leading regional private equity firms, has announced investments of more than Dh1 billion on at least five transactions a year.

Dr Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital, said the company will invest in global IPOs and M&As, targeting from six to eight areas such as pipeline projects, oil and gas, logistics and transportation, and education and health.

He made the announcement after signing a strategic and long-term partnership with Credit Suisse to help expand its portfolio companies through listing on international markets and acquisitions. The agreement was signed by Waleed Zahid, Gulf Capital Vice-President, and Charles Pieper, Credit Suisse Vice-Chairman for Alternative Investments.

Under the agreement, the Swiss financial services firm, one of the world’s largest alternative asset managers with $155bn (Dh569bn) in alternative managed assets, will focus on investing in the fast-growing Gulf and Middle Eastern economies.

As a strong sign of their commitment to the partnership, Gulf Capital and Credit Suisse will commit a significant amount of investment capital to the alliance.

Gulf Capital was established in 2006 as a private joint stock company with a capital base of Dh1.225bn.

“The annual number of deals we will strike remain the same [five] with an annual investment of Dh1bn, but their sizes may vary,” El Solh said when asked about investment plans.

“Our company has been very acquisitive in recent years and has bought market leaders in the water, oil and gas, telecoms, construction and education sectors, some of the fastest growing industries in the region.

“The launch of this alliance with Credit Suisse will enable us to continue our investment momentum and target larger acquisitions in the region. Of particular help to us will be Credit Suisse’s expertise in leveraged buy-outs, its global footprint, financial strength and award-winning debt and equity franchise in the Middle East.”

El Solh said the strategy of the company is to become the region’s largest global company in alternative managed assets with an IPO that will be launched next year.

“We are looking for more IPOs and M&As globally. We look for and buy established companies. This partnership will help us do much better globally,” he added.

About the company’s equity funds, he said Gulf Capital originally had five equity funds and “we added eight more last year”. He said Gulf Capital has high growth capital with 75 per cent growth every six months through equity injection.

Pieper said Credit Suisse’s role in the partnership will be to analyse, research and explore international markets for the alliance as well as training company leaderships in the United States and United Kingdom. “We will be building investment businesses for Gulf Capital in international markets.”

Zahid said Gulf Capital with its “good performance in the last two years” has a major plan to become a globally recognised premier private equity fund manager.

The numbers


5: The annual number of Gulf Capital deals

$155bn: Worth of assets managed by Credit Suisse