Private Equity Will Lead Next Wave of Growth

Regional private equity firms can help lead regional growth provided they have the right business models and skill sets, Citadel Capital Managing Director and Co-Founder Hisham El-Khazindar tells industry leaders at PEI's Middle East Forum

Hisham El-Khazindar, Co-Founder and Managing Director of leading Middle East and Africa private equity firm Citadel Capital, joined a distinguished group of industry leaders in the Great Debate, the featured event Private Equity International (PEI)’s sixth annual Annual Middle East Forum, which opened today in Dubai.

The high-level gathering brings together regional and international private equity firms to discuss “Sustaining Growth, Creating Value.”

El-Khazindar spoke against the debate’s motion that, “The global financial crisis did nothing but good for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia private equity industry.”

“As intellectually stimulating as it was to argue against the motion, the truth of the matter is that 2009 was not necessarily a bad year,” El-Khazindar said. “Citadel Capital looks on 2009 as likely to be a great vintage year for private equity investing. This will be the case for those of us who have combined the right business models with the local insight to source great deals, the vision for how to turn national players into regional platforms, and the world-class expertise necessary to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together.”

El-Khazindar noted that after spending much of the year just past nurturing its existing platform investments, Citadel Capital — which has US$ 8.3 billion in investments under control in 15 industries spanning 14 countries — accelerated its deal pace in the final months of 2009 under a strategy of incrementally building out large deals. The firm will emphasize substantial investments in three new Platform Companies (in the solid waste management, transportation and agriculture industries) when it announces its full-year earnings tomorrow.

“The slump in global markets and a sharp decline in the price of oil saw fundraising more challenging and exits virtually non-existent for many in emerging markets,” El-Khazindar said. “Citadel Capital nonetheless made notable progress with new fundraising and reported partial exits of three investments last year.”

Indicators across emerging markets suggest a case for optimism going forward, said El-Khazindar, who noted rising global interest in Middle East and Africa private equity as the firm targets a combined first close of US$ 150 million for its MENA and Africa Joint Investment Funds.

“Fundraising for emerging markets private equity was down 66% in 2009 from its peak the previous year, but emerging markets increased their share of global private equity investments from 7% in 2004 to 26% last year, with US$ 22.1 billion invested across 674 deals,” El-Khazindar said, pointing to a study released last week by the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.

Citadel Capital is at the vanguard of a movement to tap significant new sources of capital, El-Khazindar said: “Multilateral institutions, export credit agencies and development finance institutions were all open for business last year, provided you brought them compelling opportunities.”

Also participating in the conference was Citadel Capital Managing Director Abdalla ElEbiary, who moderated a plenary session that focused on Egypt.

“Despite the global economic slowdown and uncertainty that marked the period, Egypt’s economy grew 4.7% last year. Growth was backed by a solid financial sector, resilient domestic demand and the government’s continued support for reforms,” he noted. “Control private equity investors can bring added-value grounded in world-class management expertise and new sources of capital, both of which are central to business growth in high potential markets such as Egypt,” added ElEbiary

Citadel Capital is one of the PEI Forum’s co-sponsors.

—Ends—

Citadel Capital (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Stock Exchange) is the leading private equity firm focusing on building regional platform investments throughout the Middle East and Africa in select industries through acquisitions, turnarounds, and greenfields executed via Opportunity Specific Funds. Citadel Capital’s 18 OSFs now control Platform Companies with investments worth more than US$ 8.3 billion in 14 countries spanning 15 industries, including mining, cement, transportation, food and energy. Since 2004, the firm has generated more than US$ 2.4 billion in cash returns to co-investors and shareholders, more than any other private equity firm in the region. Citadel Capital is the largest private equity firm in Africa by PE assets under management (2004-2009, as ranked by Private Equity International). For more information, please visit www.citadelcapital.com.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Ghada Hammouda
Head of Corporate Communications
Citadel Capital (S.A.E.)

g...@qalaaholdings.com (click to reveal this email)

Tel: +20 2 2791-4440 • Fax: +20 22 791-4448
Mobile: +20 16 662-0002