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Nov 08 2012

Saudi investment firm Sedco sees assets doubling by 2017

By Stanley Carvalho

ABU DHABI, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Sedco Capital, an investment firm complying with Islamic laws, expects assets under management to double in the next five years as it expands into new areas to meet rising demand from sharia-compliant investors.

The two-year old Jeddah-based firm, which manages about $3 billion in client assets, is one of few firms offering sharia- compliant investments globally. It is part of the Sedco Holding which has interest in real estate, automobiles and financial investments.

In July this year, Sedco Capital set up an entity in Luxembourg to expand its reach in the sharia-compliant private equity, real estate and commodities space.

"With the demand we are seeing, in five to seven years we will see our assets under management doubling," Hasan Aljabri, chief executive of Sedco Capital told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Standard & Poors' forum in Abu Dhabi.

Most sharia-compliant firms are regional and "global sharia is scarce," Aljabri said.

With markets still dynamic but volatile and short-term in nature, Sedco plans to launch at least one new fund, the Sedco Capital Sentiment Fund before the year end, he said, adding the fund will invest globally in public equities.

Sedco's private equity fund launched a year ago has raised $113 million of which 40 percent is invested in 10 companies globally, he said.

Sedco has also invested globally in real estate and is currently eyeing Asian markets such as China, India and Brazil, the executive said.

The firm is also looking at new asset classes such as agriculture investments. "We are looking at it very seriously - farms, agricultural marketing companies, logistics - for private equity business," Aljabri said, declining to give any investment outlay.

Australia, New Zealand and Brazil offer vast opportunities, he said. Sedco Capital plans to open an office in the kingdom's capital Riyadh this month.

(Reporting By Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Dinesh Nair)

((stanley.carvalho@thomsonreuters.com)(Tel: + 9712 6444431))

Keywords: SAUDI SEDCO/


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