Private Equity / Venture Capital

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Deyaar launches distressed debt funds

Dubai real estate developer Deyaar will launch a series of funds of up to AED 1 bn to buy distressed debt, including its own, as it looks to boost returns for shareholders, reports John Irish on Reuters.

Its first AED 500 million fund is about 60-70 % subscribed by a mix of local and overseas investors and would buy back properties on which investors have defaulted from Deyaar's own portfolio according to the CEO, Giebel.

Deyaar will rent out the units to provide cash flow for the company before selling them once the Dubai property market recovers.

Abu Dhabi Investment House Strategic Direction

Abu Dhabi Investment House shifted its direction in 2008 towards the 'real economy', which includes health, agriculture, communications and clean energy sectors. The company increasingly changed its strategy in 2005, 2006 and 2007 from traditional investment, real estate and financial markets methods included the 'Vision 3' alliance between Abu Dhabi Investment House, Gulf Finance House and Ithmaar Bank.

The goal of the alliance is to benefit from the combined expertise in the identification of investment opportunities within the hospitality, infrastructure and agricultural sectors, including InfraCapital, the GGC's first Islamic investment bank focused on infrastructure and AgriCap, a fund given over to the development of numerous agricultural projects. The AED 400 mn Al Joud fund, the new GCC listed equities fund, performed very well.

Until now, the company did not venture into America or European markets and is considering capitalising on distressed assets in these markets.

Gulf Opportunity Fund is taking a 70% stake in L'azurde

The Gulf Opportunity Fund made it's second investment by taking a 70% stake in L'azurde, the world's fourth largest manufacturer of gold and jewellery and leading Middle East brand. The Fund is led by Investcorp and its consortium partners Eastgate Capital Group, is the private equity investment arm of NCB group of Saudi Arabia, and The National Investor.

More Sharia compliant Infrastructure Funds expected

Shashank Shekhar reported in Emirates Business 24/7 on 11 March that regional fund managers expect the emergence of several new Shariah-compliant funds focused on infrastructure projects, which offer returns in the range of 15 to 18 per cent. Infrastructure projects in sectors like health, agriculture and green energy are expected to attract the bulk of investments.

BMB Group wins mandate to manage Global Zakat and Charity Fund for OIC

The International Zakat Organisation ('IZO'), an important new charitable body of the Organisation of The Islamic Conference ('OIC'), announced its selection of The BMB Group to lead a new global charitable initiative which promises to be the largest in the Islamic world.

The proposed Global Zakat & Charity Fund would be over USD 3 bn in size and will manage charitable funds to address needy causes in the world.

The Fund will invest in community development projects with an emphasis on sustainability. The four major areas to be targeted are: (1) income generation through the provision of private equity investments to small and medium enterprises, (2) development of social enterprise through the establishment of hospitals, educational institutions and housing developments (3) development of agricultural and other vital infrastructure and (4) the provision of relief and emergency funding.

Mat Hassan Esa is the CEO of International Zakat Organisation.
Dr Humayon Dar is the CEO of BMB Islamic.
BMB appoints David Gibson-Moore as Managing Partner.

Venture Capital Bank Achieves USD 47 mn Net Profit

Venture Capital Bank Achieves USD 47 mn net profit and recommends 10 % cash dividends and 5 % bonus shares to its shareholders. The bank maintained a capital adequacy rate of 43 %, which is higher than the minimum requirements by the Central Bank of Bahrain's 12%.

Source: 

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZAWYA20090207084444/Bahrain:%20Venture%20Capital%20Bank%20Achieves%20$%2047%20Million%20Net%20Profit

Kuwait's Investment Dar discusses sale of Aston Martin

Ulf Laessing wrote in Reuters on 6 January that Investment Dar, is in talks with a Saudi investor to sell up to 10 % in luxury car maker Aston Martin, citing the daily newspaper Rai. The firm said in December that they would consider to sell up to 20 %. Further Kuwait Finance House may buy Investment Dar's 40 % stake in a Bahraini financial institution. Eventually the newspaper is quoted Investment Dar considers to sell all majority stakes to an investor group to cover liabilities.

Rasmala MENA Private Equity Fund 2 announces first closing with USD 120 million

Arabianbusiness reported on 5 January the successful first closing of the Sharia compliant fund Rasmala MENA Private Equity Fund 2, with USD 120 million in commitments received. The fund is primarily focused on mid-cap opportunities in the GCC and Egypt that benefit from the region’s GDP growth.

Tamer Bazzari is Deputy CEO at Rasmala and member of the Fund’s investment committee.

Blue Orchard: Middle East next growth area for micro finance

Shveta Pathak reported in Business 24/7 on 30 December about the opportunity of micro finance in the Middle East interviewing Jack Lowe, President of BlueOrchard, USA, a Swiss micro finance company.

Jack Lowe, President of BlueOrchard, USA, sees the stable returns and low volatility offered by micro finance as key benefits making it a preferred asset class. The stable returns and low volatility are achieved because micro finance is closely linked to real economy, the society and has the advantage of managing the current situation better.

With the UAE Ministry of Economy having been assigned the task of launching a federal strategy to develop a programme to support and finance small start-ups in the UAE, micro finance institutions are hopeful of tapping the market Lowe told Emirates Business in an exclusive interview.

Excerpts from the interview: http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2008/12/pages/12302008_f5a31399c6914...

Shariah compliant green fund launched

Hedge Fund Review reported on 22 December about the Falcon Fund launched by Da Vinci Invest of Zurich, aiming to invest in the carbon markets and forestry.

The fund will actively trade the carbon markets on a short-term basis and invest in forestry for the long term. Da Vinci Invest expects this strategy provide consistent value growth, diversification and an environmental benefit. Rainforest Invest, Forest Finance and Miller Forest will source opportunities in Panama, Costa Rica and Paraguay.

Only land formerly used for agricultural will be planted. No rainforest will be cut to farm the plantations. The Da Vinci Green Falcon Fund will charge a 2% management fee and a 20% incentive fee.

Da Vinci Invest, incorporated in 2004 as a UK company, is based in Zug.

Millennium Private Equity first close

Finalternatives reported on 22 April that Millennium Private Equity has held a first close on its Global Energy Fund, which has raised USD 200 mn, and its Telecoms, Media & Technology Fund at USD 150 mn. Both are targeting USD 1 bn in equity. The funds shall have a tenor of 7 years, targeting 20 % IRR and investing between USD 20 to 100 mn per transaction.

Sponsors of the funds include Dubai Islamic Bank, United Gulf Bank, the Bahrain-based investment banking arm of the KIPCO Group of Kuwait, and the Saudi Arabian Islamic Development Bank, each conbtributing USD 50 mn to each fund, as well as Kuwait Finance House, which invests USD 50 mn into in the Global Energy Fund.

Keba Keinde is chief executive of Millennium Finance Corporation and chairman of Millennium Private Equity. Millennium Private Equity, a subsidiary of Millennium Finance Corp., is based at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Source: http://www.finalternatives.com/node/4155

British Islamic Insurance Holding undertakes Private Placement

Gan Yen Kuan reported on 10 April in The Edge Daily that MNRB Holdings Bhd has proposed to invest GBP 8.96 mn in the non-listed British Islamic Insurance Holdings Ltd (BIIH), being an equity stake of maximum 9.99 % based on a private placement effort. MNRB aims to diversify the business and to expand into international business and the potentially lucrative market in Europe.

MNRB is Malaysia’s largest re-insurer.

BIIH has an authorised share capital of GBP 100 mn. Its issued and paid-up share capital is GBP 4.1 mn with a share premium of GBP 42.1 mn. It is incorporated on 27 February 2006.

BIIH has two wholly owned subsidiaries, namely BIIH General Ltd (BIIG) and BIIS Ltd., both have yet to obtain permission from the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) to carry out their respective business in general insurance and insurance intermediation services.

BIIH is unlisted but aims to be listed on the Alternative Investments Market in London and on one or more suitable GCC based exchanges later.

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

Al Islami Foods and Alf Yad launch a regional venture capital initiative

Al Islami Foods and Alf Yad, a Dubai based venture capital fund for young Arab entrepreneurs announced their strategic collaboration. Alf Yad will raise and deploy AED 100 mn to promising Arab entrepreneurs across the region. Initially, Alf Yad will support Al Islami with the introduction of a business franchise for fast foods - the Al Islami Cart - a business franchise for fast foods primarily distributed in major Co-Op supermarkets, high traffic mall outlets as well as the Global Village and university campuses.

Mr. Saleh Abdullah Lootah, is Chief Executive Officer of Al Islami Foods. Mr. Shehab Gargash is the Chief Executive Officer of Daman Investments, the manager of the fund.

Source: http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080327115425

NBK Capital aims to arrange Sukuk and close Private Equity transactions

Ulf Laessing reported in ArabianBusiness on 27 March about NBK Capitals plans to arrange Sukuk issues worth up to USD 700 mn in 2008 and to finalise four purchases for a Private Equity Fund.

The article confirms the slow down due to the credit crisis and that the pricing does not meet the clients requirement easily.

Further the company is buying into a car leasing company in Saudi, according to the Head of investment and merchant banking, Amjad Ahmad. It also aims to open offices in Qatar and Saudi-Arabia next year. It is operation in Turkey and interested in Syria.

NBK Capital operates currently in Kuwait and Dubai and focusses on mid-range deals in the triple-million dollar digit range.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/514909-nbk-capital-plans-700mn-islamic-bo...

Gassner's picture

An investment bank called Exotix

Edward Russell-Walling wrote in The Banker about an investment bank called Exotix, which y tackles the Yemeni frontier for investment, you can find the entire text here:

http://www.thebanker.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/5643/Exotix_boldly_tackl...

What is remarkable on this article from an Islamic finance perspective? A few issues:

1. It shows how investment banks can operate in emerging or so-called frontier markets:

"Exotix specialises in what are known these days as ‘frontier’ markets, particularly in Africa, in generally off-limits jurisdictions such as Cuba and North Korea, in the wilder corners of Latin America (which these days includes Argentina) and the Balkans. It began in 1999 as a distressed debt specialist and has been putting the knowledge gleaned from that exacting trade to wider use."

2. The frontier market attract more foreign investment and new entities are being set up:

"Since 2005, Exotix has developed an equity platform. “This is a one-stop shop, substantially a stockbroking business, for international investors looking to invest in sub-Saharan Africa,” explains Exotix CEO Peter Bartlett.

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