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Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Capital to exit two more investments

Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Capital to exit two more investments

CEO says all options open for equity investment exits; Sees flagship fund 50 pct invested by end of the year; Sees growth opportunity in oil and gas, education, real estate

September 12, 2011 2:51 by

Gulf Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based private equity firm, plans to exit two more investments in 2012 after selling its stake in Maritime Industrial Services to London-listed Lamprell Plc last month, its chief executive told Reuters.

“We are looking at two more exits over the course of next year. All options are open for it (exit),” Gulf Capital Chief Executive Karim el Solh said in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of a private equity conference in Dubai.

“We may look at trade buyers, a financial sale or if the (initial public offering) market is robust, we may take that route too.”

Private equity investments saw a sharp drop in the last couple of years with investors backing out of capital calls, sellers demanding higher prices than buyers were willing to pay and increasing competition from family groups hampering growth.

In July, Gulf Capital and another regional PE firm Amwal AlKhaleej sold their stakes in Maritime Industrial Services in a $336 million deal to Lamprell Plc in one of the rare private equity exits from the region.

Gulf Capital, which currently has $1 billion assets under management, will also invest 50 percent of its flagship Private Equity Partners Fund II by the end of the year, Solh said, adding that the fund is currently 38 percent invested.

The fund closed last year with $533 million in commitments.

Solh added that the company is eyeing growth sectors, such as oil and gas, education and real estate for investment.

“(The sectors) are all showing significant growth and we aim to be in those,” he said.

In June, the private equity firm said it will launch a $250 million credit fund aiming to provide acquisition finance and targeting regional sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), pension funds and insurance firms. (By Dinesh Nair; Writing by Shaheen Pasha; Editing by Praveen Menon)

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