Buyout Firm Abraaj Seeks More Exits From Gulf After Egyptian IPO

Abraaj Group Ltd., a buyout firm focused on emerging markets, plans to exit more Gulf investments after selling a stake in an Egyptian medical business last month.

“We’ve a significant portfolio of assets in the Gulf region that we’re focused on exiting over the next 12-18 months,” Ahmed Badreldin, partner and regional head of Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview in London.

Buyout firms in the Middle East and Africa are taking advantage of rising asset values to exit investments, including those acquired before the 2008 global financial crisis. Abraaj sold 80 percent of its stake in Egyptian diagnostics provider Integrated Diagnostics Holdings Plc in an IPO on the London Stock Exchange which valued the company at about $670 million.

“The IDH listing has proven that you can successfully list an Egyptian company in London and that London is still a preferred venue for investors seeking exposure to high quality businesses in growth economies,” Badreldin said.

Abraaj and Dubai lender Emirates NBD PJSC are considering an IPO of credit-card processing unit Network International LLC, people familiar with the plan said May 19. The firm’s other Gulf portfolio includes investments in companies such as Dubai-listed low-cost carrier Air Arabia PJSC and Dubai-based Stanford Marine Group.

Abraaj, which is also active in Sub-Saharan Africa, is focused on countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, Huda Al Lawati, a partner and chief investment officer for the MENA region, said in a separate interview.

“In Africa, we have a strong pipeline of transactions,” she said. “We’re looking at leveraging the consumption base and the growing population that is such a dominant part of the landscape.”

Abraaj currently manages $9 billion in markets across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Turkey.

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