PE volume drops in MENA

Private equity activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has more than halved in the first half of 2008.

Just 12 investments were made across MENA in the first half of 2008, compared to 33 in the same period of 2007, according to a report in Emirates Business 24/7.

In addition, fund-raising was down, as $6 billion in capital was raised last year, compared to $2.4 billion in 2005.

The largest closing in 2008 to date has been NBD Sana Capital’s $500 million fund. The average fund size in 2007 was $274 million.

However, Imad Ghandour, executive director of Gulf Capital, suggested that this is “merely a pause after a three-year spring.”

he says, “There are many happy investors reaping the fruit of their patience. [There were] 12 announced exits in the first half, including the $432 million IPO of Dubai-based Depa Ltd.

“Mega deals, almost a daily event in 2006 and 2007, are a rare and shy species nowadays. The attractiveness of private equity as a viable investment class at a global level was in doubt. Yet the fundamentals that led to the rapid rise of private equity back in 2005 are even stronger.” —Thomson Merger News