Shuaa has already identified three deals in Syria in the telecommunications, insurance, and hospitality sectors. The first transaction is expected to take place in the third quarter.
‘There are strong opportunities in the Levant,’ says Shuaa Partners’ managing director Ibrahim Saad. ‘There’s GDP [gross domestic product] growth and a flow of foreign direct investment. There’s also deal flow, especially in Syria. Valuations in the Levant are more attractive than the GCC.’
The fund has already raised more than $55 million from institutional investors and high net worth individuals. ‘We’re seeing increased interest from US and European institutions. A lot of institutions, especially university endowments and pension funds, are putting money into emerging markets,’ says Saad.
The fund is Shuaa’s second private equity fund. Shuaa’s $200 million Partners Fund I, which closed at the end of August, is 38 per cent deployed and has invested in Dubai-based jewellery retailer Damas, UK-based oil and gas industry service provider Petrofac and Abu Dhabi-based Rotana Hotels. Shuaa is also considering launching a real estate fund.