Dubai-headquartered private equity group Abraaj Capital has launched an independent asset management business that will invest in public equity and fixed income related instruments in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (Menasa) region.

Menasa Capital Management has been launched with $350 million of assets under management. The team involved has largely been drawn from Abraaj Capital's public markets division but the businesses will operate separately as Menasa is not a subsidiary of Abraaj.

Menasa's CEO Ahmed Nashaat joined the company from Permal Group where he was regional director for the Middle East.

The company currently manages the multi-strategy Menasa Opportunities Fund 1, launched in the third quarter of 2009 as well as a number of segregated managed accounts.

The fund invests in public equity and fixed income related instruments in the region, focusing on Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Turkey and the UAE. The fund will also look at opportunities on a selective and opportunistic basis in Algeria, Bahrain, Lebanon, Libya, India, Iraq and Pakistan.

The Opportunities Fund has a leverage limit of 200% of net assets. It can only invest a maximum of 40% of gross assets in any single industry or country with a limit of 15% of gross assets in a single position. Illiquid investments are limited to 20% of net assets, it said in a statement.

Minimum investment is $1 million and redemption is quarterly. The fund charges a management fee of 2% with a 20% performance fee, subject to a high water mark.

The fund is domiciled in the Cayman Islands. Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are the prime brokers and Goldman Sachs Administrative Services is the fund administrator. KPMG is the fund auditor. Legal advice is provided by Simmons & Simmons in London and Maples and Calder in Cayman.

Abraaj is one of the largest private equity funds in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region and has raised $7 billion since inception in 2002. It formed a joint venture fund with Sabre Capital Worldwide, formed by former Standard Chartered Bank CEO Rana Talwar, to invest in India.

Sabre-Abraaj Capital raised $100 million, and has invested in companies like Ramky Infrastructure, ECI Engineering Construction, and Man Infraconstruction.

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