So far this year, six private equity funds that are focused on making investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as part of a wider geographic focus have reached a final close. According to Preqin’s Funds in Market, these six funds garnered a total of just under $3bn. A majority proportion was raised by Crown Global Secondaries III, which held a final close in February 2013 on $2bn.
There are currently 31 funds in market that target MENA investments as part of a wider geographic focus. Just shy of 60% of these funds are either targeting growth equity investments (which make up 32%) or venture capital investments (which make up 26%). The 31 private equity vehicles are targeting an aggregate total of approximately $7bn and 12 have already reported at least one interim close to date, collectively raising $1.4bn in capital commitments.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the firms that are managing these funds in market are based in the MENA region. In fact, 17 out of 31 (55%) of these firms are based in countries that are included within the MENA bracket. Of the remaining fund managers, five are based in the UK and four are based in the US. The 31 funds currently in market focus on a wide range of industries from healthcare to infrastructure, and as such, no one industry focus stands out, suggesting the diverse nature of the area’s investment opportunities.
The five largest funds in market are targeting an aggregate total of $3.2bn, the largest of which is the Arab Infrastructure Investment Vehicle, managed by EMP Bahrain. This fund is targeting $1bn to invest in infrastructure projects specifically in the MENA region. The next largest fund is $300mn smaller: Samena Special Situations Fund II. The fund manager, Semena Capital, is based in the UK and manages this special situation fund to invest in a various industries in Asia, MENA and South Asia and is looking to raise $700mn. The fund has so far held two interim closes, the latest of which was in December 2011 on $264mn. Lastly, the third largest fund in market with a focus on MENA as part of a wider geographic scope is Al Masah MENA Growth PE Fund I, which aims to invest $500mn in healthcare, industrial, retail, distribution and transportation opportunities in the MENA region.