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.