• Private equity firm to boost assets in region to $1.5 billion
  • Abraaj will begin to look at deals in Argentina, Brazil

Abraaj Group, one of the largest private equity investors in developing markets, will double its assets under management in Latin America to about $1.5 billion over the next five years, regional head Miguel Olea said.

Abraaj, which opened its first Latin America fund in 2008 and has invested solely in the so-called Pacific Alliance countries which include Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, will begin to look at Argentina and Brazil for deals, Olea said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Medellin, Colombia. Investments outside the Pacific Alliance may eventually represent 20 percent of the regional holdings, he said.

“We’re looking at ways to make investments outside the Pacific Alliance to manage about 20 percent of the portfolio outside that group of countries,” Olea, who is based in Mexico City, said at the annual Latin America summit. “We can’t ignore Brazil and Argentina.”

Abraaj, which has about $10 billion under management globally, is targeting retail businesses which benefit from a growing middle class and private consumption. Currency volatility in Latin America has largely been offset by strong growth in businesses including Colombian discount chain De Uno, Olea said. Abraaj owns 50 percent of Peruvian restaurant group Acurio Restaurantes which, after opening a new restaurant in Paris this year, expects to expand to Asia and the Middle East for the first time, he said.

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