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Carlyle Targets New Middle East Deals After Saudi Arabia Sale

Carlyle Group LP, the U.S. buyout firm, said it’s targeting new investments in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey after agreeing to sell a 30 percent stake in a Saudi Arabian lighting company to Royal Philips NV.

“Our investment strategy has been to identify market leaders with a strong brand name which are easy to exit either through an IPO or an outright sale like that of GLC.,” Firas Nasir, managing director and co-head of Carlyle’s MENA operations, said in a phone interview today, referring to the Saudi company. “We continue to evaluate such opportunities.”

Philips, the world’s largest lighting company, agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Saudi Arabia’s General Lighting Co. today for $235 million from a group of shareholders including Carlyle, Hejailan Group and Alliance Holding Ltd. Carlyle had previously filed for an initial public offering for the unit.

Carlyle’s $500 million Middle East and North Africa fund has investments in companies ranging from a franchise operator for Domino’s Pizza in Saudi Arabia to a Turkish lingerie maker.

Nasir said Carlyle’s remaining investments in the region were “young” and won’t be ready for sale within the next two years.

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