UAE's Invest AD to launch $400mln fund for acquisitions

DUBAI, Oct 22 (Reuters) - State-owned Abu Dhabi Invest AD plans to launch a 1.47 billion dirhams ($400 million) private equity fund aimed at buying up stakes in up to 12 Middle Eastern companies, a UAE daily reported late Wednesday.

The fund, Invest AD Private Equity Partners II, is eyeing stakes in firms located in countries including Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, The National English-language newspaper said, citing Samir Assaad, head of private equity at Invest AD.

Assaad said the company was taking advantage of cheaper prices as a result of the financial crisis, to raise capital and invest.

Invest AD has already developed a fund management arm, raising money from third party investors for investment in the Middle East and Africa region.

Invest AD invests on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Abu Dhabi’s second sovereign wealth fund after the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The global economic crisis and the lack of liquidity led to a steep drop in private equity activity across emerging markets.

But as credit markets gradually open up again and governments in the Middle East pledged to pour billions of dollars in infrastructure and transport sector, private equity activity is set to increase again.

The chief executive of Invest AD, formerly known as Abu Dhabi Investment Company or ADIC, told Reuters on Oct. 20 the firm planned an initial public offering in the next three to five years, to float at least 25 percent of the company. [ID:nLK409567]

The company said it planned to reduce its dependence on government shareholdings.

Abu Dhabi is one of seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates, and its capital city. ($1=3.673 Uae Dirham) (Editing by Thomas Atkins and Anshuman Daga)