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GCC Report: Cash in the attic

01 November 2006

With the boom in GCC projects prompting traditional lenders to re-evaluate regional exposure levels, and growing petrodollar affluence, GCC-based infrastructure funds looks set to become a growing financial force in both the domestic and international project markets. By Michael Marray.

Wider economic buoyancy, growing liquidity, the need for portfolio diversification – all have combined to spark interest and development of longer term infrastructure funds for both inward and outward investment.

For the first time GCC-based private equity investors see an opportunity to get involved in both greenfield projects and the secondary trading of assets. Furthermore – the GCC private equity fund base is expanding, the number of funds and volume being raised having trebled in 2006.

The new teams

The basic strategy is for international investors to team up with regional players – giving a local flavour to infrastructure funds. For example, in 2005, Dubai headquartered Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) teamed up with GIB and Standard Bank to co-sponsor the GCC Energy Fund. Subsequently, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) teamed up with Swiss private equity house and investment bank Swicorp to form Swicorp Joussour Company, commonly known as Joussour.

Meanwhile Dubai...

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