Abu Dhabi Buyout Firm Gulf Capital Said to Consider IPO on Rally

Gulf Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based private-equity firm, is considering an initial public offering in what would be the U.A.E.’s first listing of a buyout firm, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company, with more than $3 billion of assets under management, hired advisors including National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC to help arrange the sale on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Gulf Capital plans to go public by the end of 2014, they said.

Middle Eastern companies are seizing on a stock market rally to enlist new investors. Emaar Properties PJSC, owner of the world’s biggest mall, plans to sell 25 percent of its shopping center business on the Dubai Financial Market, it said May 26. Dubai’s benchmark index has rallied 44 percent this year, while Abu Dhabi’s index has gained 16 percent.

Gulf Capital sold part of its stake in Gulf Marine Service Plc through a London listing that raised 179 million pounds ($306.5 million) in March. The private-equity firm has invested about 80 percent of its $533 million GC Equity Partners II Fund, its flagship equity fund, Chief Executive Officer Karim El Solh said in March. It also started a Gulf Credit Opportunities Fund in 2011 to provide acquisition finance and growth capital to mid-sized businesses.

El Solh, a former Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette leveraged buyout executive, declined to comment on the plans when contacted by Bloomberg News. Representatives for National Bank of Abu Dhabi also declined to comment.

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