Abu Dhabi’s Waha Capital abandons plans for $300m PE fund

Demand for Middle East private equity funds has been hurt by allegations that Dubai’s Abraaj misused investor money



Waha Capital has abandoned plans to raise a $300m private equity fund and the Abu Dhabi-based firm is pushing ahead with a new strategy for its private equity business, sources familiar with the matter said.

Investor demand for Middle East private equity funds has been hurt by a crisis of confidence at the region’s biggest buyout firm, Abraaj, which is battling allegations it misused funds.

Waha flagged its plan to raise a new private equity fund late last year and has since sounded out investors, three sources told Reuters. In a May presentation, there was no mention of the new fund.

“Waha Capital had some investors signed up for the fund but halted its strategy as it wants to focus on a deal-by-deal basis,” one source aware of the matter said.

“It was difficult to raise money, generally in the last two years and Abraaj has made it more difficult,” another source said. The sources declined to be named as the matter is not yet public. Waha declined to comment.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Waha Capital to sell UAE diagnostics firm to Al Borg Medical Labs

In March, Salem Rashid al Noami was appointed chairman of Waha while Michael Raynes was hired as chief executive.

Some executives have left including Alain Dib, chief operating officer, and Hani Ramadan, managing director and head of private equity, the sources said.

It is now refocusing private equity and principal investments teams to focus on strategies and themes rather than doing things separately, sources said.

Abraaj suspended a $6bn fund and is trying to push through a sale of Abraaj Investment Management as it tries to stem the fallout from allegations it misused investor money in a $1bn healthcare fund.

Read: UAE securities regulator examines Abraaj investor impact

Abraaj, which is the Middle East and Africa’s biggest private equity fund, denies any wrongdoing.