|27 May, 2019

UAE's Gulf Capital eyes acquisitions, plans new fund - CEO

United Arab Emirates-based private equity firm Gulf Capital bought a 70% stake in Medica

Investors look at electronic display boards on the trading floor at the Dubai International Financial Market March. Image for illustrative purposes.

Investors look at electronic display boards on the trading floor at the Dubai International Financial Market March. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

ABU DHABI  - Gulf Capital said on Monday it had bought a majority stake in health aesthetics firm Medica Holding and was looking for more acquisitions in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.

United Arab Emirates-based private equity firm Gulf Capital bought a 70 percent stake in Medica, which provides aesthetics, cosmetics and dermatology equipment and products in the Middle East. It did not disclose the deal value.

"We are willing to fund any bolt-on acquisitions. We are looking at two acquisitions in the Gulf, a joint venture in Africa and also in southeast Asia," Karim el Solh, chief executive of Gulf Capital, told Reuters.

"The deal is an intersection of consumer spending and healthcare, sectors that are growing very fast," he said, declining to give the deal value.

The $10 billion health aesthetics market is projected to grow at 10% annually over the next five years, while it is growing at 15% annually in the Gulf, he said.

Investments in acquisitions will be made from Gulf Capital’s third private equity fund worth $750 million, which still has a third of its cash to be deployed.

Gulf Capital is also planning to launch its fourth private equity fund this year worth more than $750 million as the firm eyes three to five new deals over the next 12 months, he said, adding the firm was working on exiting three investments.

The company was looking at sectors such as healthcare, payments, e-commerce, fintech and education, he said.

In the last 18 months, Gulf Capital did eight new deals and made five exits, with proceeds from exits almost equalling the capital deployed, he said.

Gulf Capital now has expanded its private equity team to 22 and will be hiring two more for its private debt team, he said.

With $3 billion in assets under management, Gulf Capital is one of the largest private equity players in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Dubai-based Abraaj Capital had been the biggest private equity player in the region until it collapsed last year after a dispute with investors.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho Editing by Edmund Blair) ((stanley.carvalho@thomsonreuters.com; + 9712 6444431; Reuters Messaging: stanley.carvalho.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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