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Sat 11 Jun 2011 05:04 PM

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Dubai's Abraaj mulls property fund hike to $250m

Firm may more than double fund, eyeing investments in Saudi construction sector

Dubai's Abraaj mulls property fund hike to $250m
Abraaj Capital CEO Arif Naqvi. The firm said in May it planned to finalise at least two deals in 2011

Dubai-based Abraaj Capital is looking to more-than-double a regional real estate fund to $250m this year and is eyeing investments in Saudi Arabia's construction sector, its principal said on Saturday.

The first close of the fund, ASAS, which invests in income generating property in the Middle East and North Africa, was in December 2010, Faisal Khan said on the sidelines of a conference in Jeddah.

"The first close was $100m. We are hoping to take it up to $250m. Some of those investments will be in Saudi Arabia ... We have a few deals in the pipeline which we are working on," Khan said.

The fund will look at schools, the retail sector, and offices in the kingdom, he said declining to give more details.

Abraaj, the Middle East's biggest private equity firm, manages assets of over $6bn.

Abraaj has held talks with Egypt's Citadel Capital with a view to possibly buying a stake in the rival private equity firm, a source familiar with the matter said last week.

Saudi Arabia is undergoing multi-billion infrastructure projects and aims to create more than 500,000 homes, costing around $66bn.

King Abdullah this year issued packages worth more than $130bn to create jobs, lift wages and build homes for Saudi Arabia's rapidly-growing population.

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