DUBAI, March 17 Philips has bought a
majority stake in Saudi Arabia's General Lighting Company (GLC)
from a consortium including Carlyle Group, in the U.S.
private equity firm's first exit from an investment in the
The $235 million sale is part of a growing trend in recent
months of private equity investors in the Gulf region buying and
selling assets after a period where such transactions were
difficult due to poor market conditions.
Carlyle, which bought into GLC for an undisclosed amount in
2010 through its Carlyle MENA Fund, on Monday said it was
offloading its 30 percent holding. Two other shareholders -
Alliance Holding and Hejailan Group - are selling undisclosed
amounts to give the Dutch group a 51 percent stake.
Alliance is a holding company managed by the founder and
chairman of GLC, Abdullah Al-Hobayb, which will retain a 49
percent stake in the lighting group.
The purchase will strengthen Philips' footprint in the
region, the healthcare, lighting and consumer appliances company
Private sales have started to pick up after a long drought.
In December, a unit of Dubai World sold its 50 percent stake
in Miami Beach's landmark Fontainebleau hotel back to south
Florida developer Turnberry, while global watchmaker Swatch
took control of Dubai's Rivoli retail chain through the
purchase of an 18 percent stake from Dubai International Capital
The investment banking arm of Gulf International Bank
and Gibson Dunn advised the selling consortium, while
Moelis and Norton Rose Fulbright acted for Philips, Carlyle
The deal is due to close this year, subject to regulatory
The sale ends bankers' hopes that GLC could be listed on the
Saudi stock exchange. Carlyle had hired GIB Capital and law firm
Latham & Watkins to help arrange an initial public offering,
sources said last year.
While using a stock market listing to exit a private equity
investment is pretty common in the West, such actions have been
sporadic in the Gulf since the global financial crisis sent
markets plummeting and damaged investor confidence.
However, a recovery in local investor sentiment - the value
of Dubai's bourse more than doubled in 2013 - has led
to hopes that such deals could happen on regional bourses soon.
Construction Products Holding, a building materials firm in
which Standard Chartered's private equity arm owns a
minority stake, could float 30 percent in Saudi Arabia this
year, its chief executive told Reuters in January.