Ahmed Kilani, Chief Executive Officer of Tabarak Investment, shares the company’s strategy in investments.
At Tabarak Investment, every success story, each underperforming company turned into an economic powerhouse— creates jobs, enhances GDP and reinforces long-term economic diversification. As an Emirati-led private equity firm, we go to work every day to do more than deliver high returns to our investors. We understand that each company we transform, each job we secure, every community we contribute to, plays a role supporting the economy and long-term wellbeing of our nation. By helping a broad range of companies become stable and productive, we are proud to contribute to an increasingly vibrant private sector.
To-date, thousands of jobs have been created or enhanced, across sectors such as real estate, infrastructure, construction, education, logistics, manufacturing, insurance and services— with assets ranging from Al Ain University of Science & Technology and Al Falah University; to Wahat Al Zaweya, a leading real estate development company; to Gulf Navigation Holding, operating petrochemical tankers, and the only maritime and shipping company listed on the Dubai Financial Market (GULFNAV).
One day, we may be delving in on issues of maritime trade, helping Gulf Navigation streamline their operations across eight chemical tankers, and a fully integrated ship management division. Another day may bring us closer to our education assets like Al Ain University, which has tripled its enrolment since establishment in 2004, with expanded campuses in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi offering a broad range of accredited degrees, providing distinguished and capable talents to the job market. Across our portfolio, our philosophy is unwavering: bring a focused mindset, to serve a transformative role and be disciplined in our risk.
At Tabarak, we are highly focused on identifying businesses with unique sets of challenges and promising potential. Our deep value investment approach means that we invest in companies that are at an inflexion point and in need for patient, smart capital. Our hands-on approach is our driver for uncovering value within businesses, as we turn underperformers to rising, competitive players in the economy.
Our most recent example is Drake & Scull. The first Drake & Scull office (DFM: DSI) in the Middle East was established in Abu Dhabi in 1966, nearly 90 years after being originally founded in the United Kingdom. Currently, the company’s operations extend throughout the region and across the globe with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and India, in addition to managing projects in Europe and other parts of North Africa. While acquisitions like Drake & Scull and Takaful Emarat are always capital-intensive—success needs more than just capital and being a major shareholder.
We play a fundamental role in helping our companies succeed and grow. We collaborate with our companies to enhance their performance by injecting capital; streamlining and expanding business operations; enhancing governance practises; scaling market reach and employing strong management teams. Our financial experts rigorously analyse the external and internal factors of potential investments to determine risk tolerance. Every opportunity must be in line with Tabarak’s investment philosophy and strategy. We do not restrict our investment choices and are always on board to explore different sectors. Our deal-making is governed by our solid ethical compass of integrity, honesty and transparency. Furthermore, we cooperate with third-party financial and legal advisors to identify the fair price range of opportunities, optimal capital structure, financing means, negotiations and most importantly, identifying catalyst factors to maximise shareholder value.
At Tabarak, we are honoured to have this core philosophy recognised with the Private Equity Firm of the Year award at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards. Seven years of work by a group of Emirati entrepreneurs with the ambition to play a meaningful role powering the UAE economy—helping companies become more productive and stable, thus, supporting a more efficient private sector.