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Gulf Capital raises $215 million for credit fund

Asset management firm aims to use money to finance small businesses

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Gulf Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based alternative asset management firm, has raised $215 million (Dh790 million) for its credit and mezzanine fund after getting a $20 million contribution from the International Finance Corporation, it said on Monday.

The credit fund was aimed primarily at financing small businesses, Karim El Solh, the chief executive, said at a press conference. Currently, the share of bank lending that goes to small businesses in the Gulf was only 2 per cent, he said.

Gulf Capital, which launched the Gulf Credit Opportunities Fund in 2011, also manages private equity funds and has investments in real estate. Mezzanine funds, which typically invest with a combination of credit and equity, are a rarity in the Gulf. Kuwait’s NBK Capital also runs a mezzanine fund.

“We hope to help these companies fund themselves and grow,” El Solh said, adding that the final close for the fund would come at the end of this year and the amount raised would be capped at $300 million. The International Finance Corporation, a private-sector development group, recently decided to put in $20 million after doing substantial due diligence, he said.

The fund would typically lend between $15 and $20 million to businesses, El Solh said. It had already extended $60 million in total to three companies, he said, one in the UAE and two in Turkey.