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|| Dubai PE firm raised $375 million for real estate and small business funding

abraajAbraaj Capital, a Private Equity firm in the Middle East, announced that it has completed a $375 million capital increase to existing shareholders, which increases the company's paid-in capital to US$ 1.5 billion.

According to the FT, Abraaj will focus on real estate and small businesses, as well as trying to acquire an overseas competitor looking to raise its regional exposure.

(To see more Dubai investors like Abraaj check our investors directory)

Their full press release follows:

Abraaj Capital Holdings Limited (the parent entity for the Abraaj Group and its associated funds) announces that it has completed a US$ 375 million capital increase to existing shareholders, strengthening its balance sheet to capitalise on strategic buying opportunities, expand its geographic and product coverage, and consolidate its market-leading position.

The rights issue which increases the company's paid-in capital to US$ 1.5 billion was fully subscribed, demonstrating strong confidence in and commitment to both Abraaj Capital and the investment opportunity in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Abraaj is the region's largest private equity group.

Use of the proceeds will include seeding new funds to take advantage of an attractive investment environment, as well as possibly executing strategic opportunities for Abraaj itself to expand its sphere of operations. This will also help accelerate and enhance long-term shareholder value by protecting some of the unlocked value in the balance sheet.

Sheikh Abdulrahman al Turki, Chairman of Abraaj Capital Holdings Limited, said: "This initiative will enhance value for all Abraaj shareholders and allow the firm to consummate opportunities in an expedient manner and at an interesting price-point in the cycle, while also retaining the option to position itself for a successful liquidity event in the future."

"The success of the rights issue, with its focus on raising strategic capital, stands in contrast to the current global fundraising environment. On a consolidated basis, the investment portfolio of the funds Abraaj manages is healthy on account of robust performance of our portfolio companies. Most of these operate in defensive or growth-oriented industries that are less impacted by the recession."

Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group CEO of Abraaj Capital Holdings Limited, added: "Abraaj Capital has widened its lead as the top private equity firm in the region. As a result of our investment in our people and processes, not only is the short-term impact of the global downturn minimal on us, the long-term prospects for our business are probably better than at any point in the past. The economic environment has resulted in interesting opportunities. Asset prices are more reasonable, aspiring regional and global competition has largely retreated, and consolidation opportunities, both for our firm and our portfolio companies, are available."

About Abraaj Capital: Dubai-based Abraaj Capital is the largest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Since inception in 2002, it has raised about US$ 7 billion and distributed almost US$ 3 billion to investors. It has made more than 35 investments in 11 countries and exited 20. The group operates offices in five countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. About 155 people work in Abraaj, including around 75 world-class investment professionals. Abraaj has holdings in some 25 companies, including some of the region's most prominent, such as Air Arabia, the region's biggest low-cost carrier; Acibadem Healthcare Group, Turkey's biggest privately owned operator of premium hospitals; and Al Borg, the Middle East's biggest medical-testing laboratory company. Abraaj has won several international awards, including 'Middle Eastern Private Equity Firm of the Year' from London-based Private Equity International four years in a row. Abraaj Capital Ltd., a member of the Abraaj Capital group, is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, while the group is also an associate member of the European Venture Capital Association. Abraaj's commitments to Corporate Social Responsibility include a US$ 10 million educational trust fund for Palestinian children who lost parents during conflict in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. The Abraaj Capital Art Prize, the world's most generous art prize, is designed to support artists from the MENASA region.

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