Dubai's Abraaj in $125 mln Morocco insurance deal

Reuters, Thursday 8 Mar 2012

Abraaj, the largest private equity firm in the Middle East, says it is investing $125 million in Moroccan insurance holding

Abraaj Capital founder and Chief Executive, Arif Naqvi

Abraaj Capital is investing about $125 million in a Moroccan insurance holding firm as it bids to tap growth prospects in Africa's nascent insurance sector.

Privately-owned Saham Finances has majority stakes in three subsidiaries: Casablanca-listed CNIA Saada, sub-Saharan insurance firm Colina and Isaaf, a firm which focuses on assistance services market in Morocco, Abraaj said in a statement.

Abraaj, the Middle East's largest private equity firm and which recently bought private equity firm Aureos, said its investments will help Saham's expansion and acquisition plans in Africa and the Middle East.

The Dubai-based private equity firm, 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 month, Abraaj 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.

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