Dubai: The GCC Energy Fund, the region's leading private equity fund for the energy sector, yesterday said that it has acquired a 33 per cent equity stake in The Gulmar Offshore Group based in Sharjah.

Executives from the fund hope that the direct investment in the group, which specialises in subsea services, engineering, pipeline maintenance and underwater technology, will help capitalise on the ongoing rise in demand for support services in the offshore energy business as well as providing the company with essential funds for expansion.

"One of the core objectives of the fund is to realise value at every stage of the supply chain of the energy sector and Gulmar represents an excellent example of a regional company which has realised major successes on the service side of the industry," said Adil Toubia, Chief Executive of the GCC Energy Fund.

"We recognise the ongoing opportunities for strong companies like Gulmar in this market and are confident that our investment will provide them with the resources needed to expand globally," he added.

Gulmar Offshore has been in operation for nine years and has experienced significant growth in recent years, both locally and internationally.

Jean Michel Tissier, Chairman of the Gulmar Offshore Group, explained the benefits of the investment: "This investment provides us with the capital we need to expand our specialised fleet for offshore and subsea activities, enabling us to increase the geographic expansion of our business."

Under the terms of the deal, the GCC Energy Fund will have representation through two seats on the board of the company.

The announcement of the deal comes during a busy period of investment by the fund. Less than two weeks ago it was disclosed that it had led a consortium of investors in acquiring a controlling interest in Oman's Dhofar Power Company.

The GCC Energy Fund, launched last year, is the first private equity fund focused on investments in companies and projects in the energy sector in the Middle East.