The Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC region represents the political and economic union of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf. Founded in 1981, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and have since sought similar economic and social objectives. On March 6th 2012, the six members of the GCC, announced that the Gulf Cooperation Council would be evolving from a regional bloc to a confederation.
Preqin’s extensive research shows there are currently 72 private equity firms located in the GCC region. The latest data from the Fund Manager Profiles database shows that collectively these firms have raised over USD 15.4 billion in capital commitments over the last 10 years and have over USD 3.2 billion available in dry powder.
Of these firms, the majority of fund managers are located in United Arab Emirates, with 31 based in Dubai and nine in Abu Dhabi. Fund managers within the United Arab Emirates have raised more than USD 8.1 billion in aggregate capital commitments over the last 10 years and have over USD 2.3 billion available in dry powder. The country is also home to Abraaj Capital, the largest fund manager in the GCC region in terms of total capital raised. Abraaj Capital is a private equity group headquartered in Dubai that invests within the Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Asia. The firm specialises in buyout and growth-stage transactions that capitalize on the high-growth economies of the MENA region. Abraaj Capital has raised over USD 2.9 billion over the past 10 years and currently has an estimated USD 926 million in available dry powder.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has the second highest number of fund managers, within the GCC region, with 11 located there. The majority of private equity fund managers are based in the city of Manama while only one firm is based in the Seef District. GrowthGate Capital Corporation is the largest fund manager based within Bahrain, raising USD 500 million in aggregate capital commitments over the past 10 years and has an estimated USD 44 million available in dry powder. Overall, private equity firms based in Bahrain have raised over USD 1.6 billion in capital commitments and has approximately USD 245 available in dry powder.
Kuwait has less fund managers than Bahrain but the country’s nine fund managers have raised funds worth over USD 3.6 billion in the last decade making the country the second most successful in terms of funds raised within the GCC region. This could be due to Kuwait housing the second largest fund manager within the GCC region, Global Investment House, which has over USD 2.8 billion in capital commitments and has approximately USD 257 million available in dry powder. The firm specialises in both balanced and buyout vehicles investing predominantly within the MENA region, with a particular focus on GCC member countries.