INTERVIEW: UAE-based Gulf Capital to invest $250 mln in Egypt in 2022: CEO

Doaa A.Moneim , Monday 7 Mar 2022

Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Capital, a private equity investment company with a total capital worth $1.5 billion, plans to invest $250 million in the Egyptian market out of a $750 million-portfolio that it intends to launch in 2022, according to Co-Founder and CEO Karim El-Solh.

Karim El Solh
Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Capital company s co-founder and CEO Karim El Solh.

Gulf Capital, which has been investing in Egypt for five years now, opened its office in the country last week and announced its plans to expand in the domestic market.

It currently has assets under management with a total value exceeding $2.5 billion across seven funds and investment vehicles. Its key investment markets are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Speaking to Ahram Online, El-Solh noted that Egypt has made significant strides over the past five years in terms of its economy and the improvement of the investment and business-doing scene.

“Egypt is on track, and that is reflected in the reports released by global financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which both expected positive growth for the Egyptian economy, even amid the first wave of the pandemic, and they projected a promising future for the Egyptian economy,” El-Solh explained.

He added that Egypt is a huge market and enjoys a bunch of potentials, especially in the field of technology, including fintech, healthtech, and e-commerce, in addition to water desalination and renewables.

“Egypt is the best country in Africa and the Middle East in terms of technology businesses, with 28.3 percent of start-up investments in Africa headed to Egyptian companies.”

Regarding the company’s investments in the Egyptian market, El-Solh expounded that Gulf Capital invests in nine companies operating mainly in technology, water desalination, business services, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and healthtech, adding that the company invested $300 million (EGP 5 billion) over the past decade.

“We like to invest in a country with high growth, stability, and is welcoming of investors. Moreover, Egypt attained 9 percent in the second quarter of the current FY2021/22, according to the Ministry of Planning’s data, and it is spectacular… amid the ongoing challenges,” El-Solh explained.

He also noted that his company intends to list two of its companies under an initial public offering (IPO) programme in Egypt by 2023.

Furthermore, El-Solh told Ahram Online that Gulf Capital plans to cooperate with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE), adding that the company has already initiated discussions with the fund in this respect.

“The major investors in our private equity fund are sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) across the world. Out of that, we are looking to bringing some of them from the Gulf, Europe, and Asia to the Egyptian market to tap its investment opportunities,” El-Solh illustrated to Ahram Online.

Regarding the company’s future plans for the Egyptian market, El-Solh mentioned that Gulf Capital is aiming to double its investments in the local market to hit $600 million (EGP 10 billion) over the coming five years and to explore the investment opportunities in the market; especially in technology, sustainability, and environment, in addition to green hydrogen production area.

“Our long-term commitment to Egypt and the broader Middle Eastern and African regions remains rock-solid. We plan to strengthen our position as a leading active investor in these regions, both in the tech space and the industries of tomorrow,” he explained.

“The new office that opened in Egypt follows our recent office opening in Singapore last December, allowing Gulf Capital to invest across growth markets from North Africa to Southeast Asia.”

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