November 5, 2018 / 1:02 PM / a month ago

Abraaj fund investors hire Duff & Phelps to help recover money: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - Investors in one of Abraaj’s Middle East and North Africa funds have hired New York-based Duff & Phelps in an effort to recover money owed by the stricken private equity company, say sources familiar with the matter.

The advisory firm will seek to trace an estimated $33 million owed by Abraaj relating to the Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund and to ensure a suitable manager is brought in to oversee it, the sources said. The fund’s net asset value was estimated at around $700 million, one of the sources added.

The fund is one of several where court-appointed liquidators Deloitte and PwC have yet to pick preferred bidders for management rights.

Duff & Phelps did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Deloitte and PwC declined to comment.

Abraaj was a $13.6 billion emerging market specialist with more than 200 investments, but late last year four investors questioned its use of their money in a healthcare fund triggering a crisis at Abraaj and its provisional liquidation.

A report from the liquidators in July acknowledged there were potential claims arising from the alleged “co-mingling” of funds and withdrawal of cash from the Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund and another fund, Private Equity Fund IV.

Another advisory firm, Alvarez & Marsal has already been hired by investors in Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV to help recover an estimated $130 million owed by Abraaj relating to that fund, the sources said, adding that the amount might change. The fund’s net asset value was estimated at around $700 to $800 million, one of the sources said.

Actis was last month given a 30 day exclusivity period to reach the required threshold of 75 percent of investor support for its bid to take over the management of that fund. Kuwait’s Agility, in partnership with asset management firm Capital Dynamics, and Abu Dhabi Financial Group are separately seeking to get the 36 percent level of investor support in order to block Actis’s bid, the sources said.

Actis declined to comment.

Agility and Abu Dhabi Financial Group are competing for most of the other Middle East and North Africa funds, the sources said.

Reporting By Tom Arnold; editing by John Stonestreet

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