US-based private-equity firm, Warburg Pincus has made its first investment in the Middle East, agreeing to acquire a controlling stake in Dubai-based Mercator, Bloomberg has reported. The move is part of a plan by the Warburg Pincus to invest in Africa and the Middle East, as capital starts to flow back into emerging markets. Mercator, a Dubai aviation software-solutions company owned by Emirates’ Dnata unit, provides services to airlines including United Airlines Inc. and British Airways. “This is a growth equity investment for Warburg, our first in the Middle East, and there is no debt involved in the transaction,” Joseph Schull, head of Warburg Pincus in Europe, told the news service. “This business can be a multiple of its current size.” Warburg Pincus expects to double or triple its initial investment in Mercator in the coming years and is also exploring add-on acquisitions to expand the business, Schull said, without identifying potential targets. Mercator has more than 125 airline clients in 80 countries.
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