Monday 20, March 2017 by Matthew AmlĂ´t

$322 billion private equity investments in emerging markets remain elusive for Middle East

The forum, aimed at the region’s private equity investment community, will be held in Dubai to tackle the opportunities and challenges facing the private investments sector as it brings together regional and international private equity (PE) and alternative assets investors under one roof on April 19, 2017 at the St. Regis, Al Habtoor City.

The exclusive event is designed to open the floor for discussions on new business development and exchange ideas on the state of the regional financial market with a select group of private equity firms and investment professionals, as well as venture capitalists, seed or angel investors, and asset managers.

A 2016 research and analysis on private equity investments revealed that emerging markets-based fund managers have raised about $322 billion worth of private equity funds in the last 10 years, with the majority of the emerging markets PE fund managers concentrated in Asian markets, Central and Eastern Europe, South Asia, Far East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Organised by EurabiaMedia, PE Forum 2017 will present the GCC’s private equity performance and explore the key sectors that currently attract private investments as well as capital flow directions. It also aims to address the challenges of building regional portfolios and identify growth opportunities in the region, including the surge in entrepreneurship and SMEs in the region.

A roster of high-level public officials and chief executives from high-performing PE firms and alternative investment markets will be among the speakers. Selected attendees comprise 32 per cent from PE firms, 16 per cent from asset management companies, 14 per cent from family offices, 14 per cent from investment banks, 10 per cent from sovereign wealth funds, seven per cent from wealth managers and seven per cent from service providers.

Khaled Abou Zahr, founder of the Private Equity Forum, said, “Private equity firms not only raise one of the best returns on investments but they also invest in future talents that will have significant contribution to regional economy, as well as enhance the rigours in management of companies. It is part of the solution for the high unemployment in the Middle East as it is key to the development of SMEs that need stronger capital and management. This forum will be pushing for this agenda through its full day of engaging panels and sessions. ”

The value of regional private equity investments in 2015 reached $1.49 billion, slightly lower from 2014’s performance which hit $1.57 billion worth of deals, according to industry reports.

Abou Zahr added, “Private equity investors in the MENA region are facing a crucial juncture as they continue to build assets and we find it important to address key issues in the sector in order to take advantage of the biggest opportunities the region has to offer. The conference is designed to bring together the region’s private investment leaders and catalyse action towards regional development. The forum also serves as the ideal platform for a growing portfolio of successful entrepreneurs and companies to connect and showcase the sector’s capabilities to bring about economic growth in the region.”

The prestigious event will also highlight the role of family offices and their growing importance in expanding the regional private equity market. More importantly, the conference will tackle the realities of deal sourcing and fundraising, and answer important questions within the industry, including how PE leverages its capabilities to finance regional growth or the current market geared towards investing in markets outside the region.

“We have designed the event to be packed with timely issues and topics that will engage investment leaders and dealmakers in the region to assess their current capabilities and find inspiration on how to take the regional PE sector to new levels. The Middle East remains a very viable market for investment where PE investors, venture capitalists and seed investors could strengthen their market presence and reinforce ties in the industry. We hope to see this happening during the event as we provide the ideal venue for networking and high-level meetings with potential partners,” he concluded.

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