Dubai's Abraaj eyes 2013 IPO for Egypt health business

DUBAI Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:04am EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Abraaj Capital, the Middle East's largest private equity firm, is considering selling shares in its Egyptian medical laboratories business in 2013 and hopes to deploy as much as $800 million in new deals, its chief executive said on Monday.

The Dubai-based firm's portfolio company, Al Borg Laboratories, entered into a merger agreement with Al Mokhtabar Laboratories in August to create Integrated Diagnostics Holding, the biggest medical laboratories business in the region.

Before that deal, Abraaj owned about 99 percent of Al Borg.

Abraaj expects to sell part of its 50 percent stake in Integrated Diagnostics Holding in the IPO and the remaining stake to a strategic investor, Chief Executive Mustafa Abdul-Wadood told Reuters in an interview.

"An IPO (of Integrated Diagnostics Holding) seems to be the most natural exit route for us. The company has been self funded for some time and the IPO will guarantee funding for its future growth," Abdul-Wadood said.

"We keep our options open for the listing. There has to be an international aspect to that. I can think of London as one option," he added.

Abraaj struck a deal to buy emerging market fund manager Aureos Capital in February, creating an entity with approximately $7.5 billion in assets under management.

Dubai-based Abraaj has been pushing to expand its geographical footprint in emerging markets. It owns stakes in Egypt's Orascom Construction (OCIC.CA), budget carrier Air Arabia AIRA.DU and supermarket chain Spinneys.

The company plans to deploy as much as $800 million in new deals through the course of next year as it scouts for opportunities in growth markets in consumer sectors, financial services and resources.

"We expect to invest more than 75 percent of our $2 billion fund in the course of next year. We're already at 40 percent so you can say around $800 million will be deployed by end 2013," Abdul-Wadood said.

"You'll probably see a couple of exits next year," he added.

The private equity firm has had a busy year already, investing $125 million in a Moroccan insurance holding firm and tying up with the top shareholder of TransAtlantic Petroleum (TNP.TO) to buy the Canadian company's oilfield services unit.

It sold its stake in Turkey's Acibadem to Integrated Healthcare Holdings (IHH), a healthcare unit of Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional late in 2011. The deal valued Acibadem at around $1.68 billion, making it one of the largest exits by a private equity firm in the region.

(Writing by Dinesh Nair; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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