Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative investment firms in the Middle East based in Abu Dhabi,was voted “Best Private Equity Firm in the Middle East” for the fourth year in a row. Gulf Capital received the award at the annual event of the prestigious Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2014 ceremony, held in Dubai. The awards ceremony was attended by prominent industry experts and banking and finance peers from the Arab region, including the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), the Levant, North Africa and from around the world.
The award for the “Best Private Equity Firm in Middle East” was presented to Dr Karim El Solh,Gulf Capital’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, Richard Dallas and Muhannad Qubbaj, Managing Directors, Private Equityalong with the team.
Commenting on the accolade, Dr. Karim El Solh, Gulf Capital’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are extremely proud to be recognized as the leading Private Equity firm in the Middle East for the fourth year in a row.This year has been a very busy and productive year for Gulf Capital so far, with considerable progress on the investing, growing and exiting fronts.Our portfolio companies are all expanding fast and registering robust growth. Our landmark IPO of Gulf Marine Services (“GMS”) on the London Stock Exchange was the key event for us this year, reflecting our ability to grow and successfully exit our investments. During our seven year ownership period, GMS has increased its net profitability by 1117% and has grown from being a local UAE company to becoming a dominant global leader in its industry. At the IPO price, total gross gains on the GMS investment for Gulf Capital’s GC Equity Partners II Fund are in excess of US$600 million. The GMS investment is a good testimony of the strong returns that can be generated from private equity in the Gulf region.”
Richard Dallas, Managing Director, Private Equity added: “The financial performance of GMS during our ownership period has been stellar, registering an annual compound growth rate of 39.6% in revenues, 49.2% in EBITDA and 51.7% in Net Profits over the last seven years. The GMS investment represents the template for future control growth buy-outs in the Middle East and is one of the most profitable private equity deals in the history of Private Equity in the Middle East to date.”
Over the last year, Gulf Capital has been investing actively in both the private equity and credit and mezzanine arenas. Muhannad Qubbaj, Managing Director, Private Equity commented: “We are particularly proud of our 100% acquisition of Chef Middle East L.L.C (“Chef”), an importer and distributor of high-end, specialty and fine food products from around the world. This transaction was one of the first full leveraged buy-outs in the food industry. Gulf Capital also invested in a significant majority stake of OCB Oilfield Services FZCO (“OCB”), the leading Oil & Gas crew supply and related logistics provider in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa. This latest investment is part of Gulf Capital’s increasing focus on the offshore oil and gas industry, a fast growing sector where we are actively involved.”
Organised by CPI Financial, the Banker Middle East Industry Awards is the region’s leading financial event where individual and corporate entities are acknowledged for their distinctive performance in the banking and finance industry. This year the nominations came from across the GCC region including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon representing more than 200 institutions.
The awards cover a variety of financial services including retail, corporate, investment, private banking, asset management, fund management, finance companies and consultancy practices.