Dubai-based Manrre Logistics Fund considers Gulf expansion beyond UAE

DUBAI, March 3 (Reuters) - Dubai-based Manrre Logistics Fund is considering buying assets in Oman’s Sohar Port and the United Arab Emirates’ Umm Al Quwain, two of its top executives said on Tuesday.

“Our core focus is UAE, but of course, opportunistically we’ve been offered something in Oman, something in Saudi so we might look at it in the future,” said Kunal Lahori, executive director of Palmon Group, which owns Manrre.

“Actively, we’ve been offered mainly in Oman in the Sohar Port, we’re looking at a deal there. We’ve been offered something in Umm Al Quwain (in the UAE), which is quite interesting because it’s in between Sharjah, Ajman,” Lahori said.

The fund currently has $72 million in gross assets, said Zachary Cefaratti, CEO of Dalma Capital, which manages the fund.

“We see an opportunity to acquire $100-150 million per year of assets in this market,” he said. “Our focus now is growing the fund.”

Manrre is studying a potential future initial public offering (IPO), but that would depend on market conditions and investor interest, Cefaratti said.

Manrre on Tuesday placed its shares in Nasdaq Dubai’s Central Securities Depository, which means some of its shares will be available to private investors.

The company has about $32 million in debt - mortgages on facilities - from the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah and First Abu Dhabi Bank, Lahori said. The fund pays between 4.5% and 5% in interest on the financing.

The fund is currently in the process of arranging new financing from the National Bank of Fujairah, Lahori said, adding that he hoped further financing would not be required as they expected new liquidity to come from private investors.

Cefaratti said any new financing would be loans, rather than a bond or sukuk issuance. (Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)