Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Distressed Deals Lure Shariah Funds Managing $10 Billion

Islamic private equity funds in the Persian Gulf plan to take advantage of lower asset prices after the property market in Dubai tumbled as much as 50 percent from its peak in 2008, reports Bloomberg (Oct 27, 2010).

“We want to take advantage of massive dislocations that have taken place in this market over the past three years,” Yahya Jalil, director of private equity at Abu Dhabi-based investment and advisory company The National Investor, said in an interview Oct. 18. “We have gotten over that hump in the cycle when there were a lot of liquidity constraints.”


Middle East and North Africa investment groups have about $10 billion available after raising a record $5.4 billion in 2008 that they haven’t been able to spend, Gulf Venture Capital Association said in a July 20 statement. Mid-sized businesses in the Gulf may need as much as $1 billion from investors, Jalil said. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of regional stocks has declined 26 percent since the end of September 2008 after credit markets collapsed.

The National and Kipco Asset Management Co., a Kuwaiti investment bank, started a $200 million Shariah-compliant fund this month, Jalil said in Abu Dhabi. Bahrain’s Capital Management House plans to complete a transaction and buy stakes in companies specializing in aviation and energy, Chairman Khalid Al Bassam said in an Oct. 25 telephone interview.

Islamic funds received $8.9 billion of commitments from investors from 2003 through July this year, of which about $4.5 billion has been invested, Kuwait Finance House KSC, the country’s biggest Islamic bank, said in an Oct. 8 report. About $75 billion of deals have been completed since 2003, the bank said.

“The private equity market is coming back,” said Al Bassam, whose firm has stakes in energy, banking and real-estate companies.

Shariah-compliant equity companies raised and completed deals worth about $3 billion worldwide last year, mostly in the Middle East and North Africa, Dubai-based Yasaar Media, a media and research company that specializes in Islamic finance, said in an August 2009 report.

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