Abraaj holds first close on infrastructure fund on $500m

Dubai-based Abraaj Capital has secured one-quarter of its targeted fund size at the first close of its infrastructure and growth capital fund.

Abraaj Capital, a Dubai-based private equity firm, has raised $500 million (€650 million) at the first close of a $2 billion infrastructure and growth capital fund focused on the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, according to a statement. The fund, managed by Abraaj, is co-sponsored by Deutsche Bank and Ithmaar Bank, an investment bank based in Bahrain.

The infrastructure fund plans to invest in a wide range of projects from greenfield developments to growth capital opportunities and large scale privatisations and buyouts. Targeted sectors include: power and utilities, water, healthcare, education, transportation and ports, oil and gas, petrochemicals, industrials and mining. According to a research report released by Abraaj when the infrastructure fund was first launched, the rgion requires approximately $630 billion of infrastructure investment over the next decade.

Arif Naqvi, chief executive officer of Abraaj said: “Subsequent closings will occur monthly until June 2007, with a final closing shortly thereafter. The pipeline of deals ready to go into the fund now or in very advanced stages is extremely strong.”

Abraaj recently named David Donaldson as its new chief financial officer, and promoted Jonathan Hall and Omar Lodhi, two existing members of the firm, to executive directors.

Donaldson, who replaces Simon Davies, now chief operational officer, has more than 20 years in finance and operational roles in investment banking, and was most recently, chief financial officer at merchant bank Piper Jaffray in London.