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Dubai Buyout Firm Abraaj Said to Plan Spinneys Stake Sale

Abraaj Capital Ltd, the Dubai-based buyout firm with over $7 billion of assets under management, plans to sell its majority stake in Middle Eastern supermarket chain Spinneys, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The fund will seek buyers starting next week after hiring a bank to manage the sale, the person said, asking not to be identified as talks are private. The firm also plans to sell a stake in a Tunisian pharmaceuticals company and in a unit of oil and gas service company Stanford Marine Group, the person said.

Spinneys was founded in Alexandria in 1924 and acquired by Abraaj in 2004. The retailer has outlets in Egypt, Lebanon and Qatar and operates in the United Arab Emirates under franchise. It generates more than $150 million in sales at its four locations in Egypt, according to the firm’s 2011 annual review.

Foreign investors are targeting Egyptian assets after a popular uprising last year that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. Qatar National Bank SAQ bought Societe Generale SA’s 77.2 percent stake in an Egyptian Unit for $1.97 billion in December. Savola Group, based in Saudi Arabia, said in December it’s expanding its sugar refining operations in the North African nation home to about 82 million people.

Mitali Atal, an Abraaj spokesman, said the firm declined to comment on market speculation related to investments or exits. Calls to Spinneys regional office in Lebanon weren’t immediately returned.

Abraaj has investments in two pharmaceutical companies in Tunisia, Opalia Pharma and Unimed, according the company’s web site. Stanford Marine Group’s units are Stanford Marine, Grandweld Shipyards and GMMOSTECH.

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