UAE's Amanat says eyeing new deals amid Abraaj crisis

Amanat boss sees 'real opportunity' to be number one investment firm as Abraaj troubles continue
UAE's Amanat says eyeing new deals amid Abraaj crisis
By Bloomberg
Thu 28 Jun 2018 01:57 PM

Amanat Holdings is scouting for deals as the investment firm seeks to capitalize on the collapse of Dubai-based Abraaj Group.

“We want to be number one and now is the real opportunity to gain that position,” managing director Shamsheer Vayalil said in an interview on Wednesday. “Amanat is well poised to lead the healthcare and education space in the region and abroad in the incumbent era.”

The company is looking at a “couple more” healthcare and education deals in the Gulf region, India and Egypt after some of its biggest transactions in recent weeks, Vayalil said.

Amanat has deployed less than 60 percent of its 2.5 billion-dirham ($680 million) paid-up capital without raising debt, which “positions us strongly to flex our financial muscle and gain market position,” he said.

Dubai-based Amanat is planning to expand after the collapse of Abraaj, one of the biggest buyout firms in the Middle East, sent shockwaves through the region’s private equity industry. Since allegations that Abraaj misused client money surfaced in February, most private equity deals and fundraising in the region have come to a halt. Abraaj is now undergoing a court-supervised restructuring.

Amanat expects markets to “move on” from the collapse of Abraaj and the company is focusing on “value systems, transparency, compliance and governance” to make sure it doesn’t “repeat the mistakes that others made,” Vayalil said.

The company this week said it acquired the real estate assets of North London Collegiate School Dubai for 360 million dirhams with an additional commitment of up to 45 million dirhams for the school’s expansion.

It has also reached an initial deal to buy Middlesex University’s Dubai campus from Abraaj for $100 million, people familiar with the matter said last week.

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