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Wed 29 Feb 2012 09:55 AM

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Dubai’s Abraaj in $164m oilfield deal with Canada’s TransAtlantic

The firm also holds interests in oil and gas properties in Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania

Dubai’s Abraaj in $164m oilfield deal with Canada’s TransAtlantic

Abraaj Capital, the Dubai-based private equity firm, has teamed with the top shareholder of TransAtlantic Petroleum Ltd to buy the Canadian energy company's oilfield services business in a deal valued at around $164 million.

Abraaj, which recently bought private equity firm Aureos, joined with TransAtlantic's top shareholder and chief executive Malone Mitchell for the deal, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The private equity firm said it signed a non-binding letter of intent alongwith Dalea Partners - an affiliate of Mitchell - to acquire the business.

TransAtlantic, which holds interests in oil and gas properties in Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania, has been exploring strategic alternatives for its oilfield services business since last year.

In a separate bourse statement, TransAtlantic said it intends to use net proceeds from the sale to pay down outstanding debt, adding it was engaged in an exclusivity period with the prospective buyers to negotiate definitive agreements.

TransAtlantic's oilfield services business is mainly comprised of wholly-owned subsidiaries Viking International Limited and Viking Geophysical Services Ltd.

In May 2011, TransAtlantic named Mitchell as its chief executive and set plans in motion to explore strategic alternatives for its oilfield services business.

Abraaj, founded in 2002 by Group Chief Executive Arif Naqvi, has raised $7 billion since its inception. It owns stakes in Orascom Construction, budget carrier Air Arabia , supermarket chain Spinneys and education group GEMS. Funds managed by the group have stakes in 35 companies across the Middle East region.

Last week, the PE firm agreed to buy UK-based specialist fund manager Aureos Capital, creating an entity with $7.5 billion in assets and a wider focus on emerging markets.

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