Dubai’s Abraaj hires Deloitte for business review

Abraaj has been trying to stem the fallout from a row with four of its investors



Abraaj has hired Deloitte to examine its business, including its troubled $1bn healthcare fund, after investors questioned an earlier review by KPMG of the embattled fund, people familiar with the matter said.

Abraaj has been trying to stem the fallout from a row with four of its investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Finance Corp (IFC), over the use of their money in the fund.

Read: Dubai’s Abraaj denies wrongdoing related to $1bn healthcare fund

A Deloitte team, including specialists in forensic services, is working inside Abraaj’s office to help the healthcare fund review its governance and control mechanisms, the sources said.

Read: Dubai’s Abraaj hires Houlihan Lokey for advice after dispute

Abraaj said in an email it does not comment on mandates for its advisers, while Deloitte declined to comment. KPMG, the Gates Foundation and IFC have also declined to comment.

Some investors felt the month-long KPMG review, completed on February 7, was conducted too quickly and was not comprehensive, one of the sources said. Deloitte was therefore brought on board by Abraaj to conduct a separate review, the sources added.

Abraaj has said KPMG conducted a review based on agreed-upon procedures and had verified that all payments and receipts in the fund were in line with agreed procedures.

Abraaj’s founder Arif Naqvi handed day-to-day running of the investment management business to two co-chief executives and the group was split into Abraaj Investment Management Ltd (AIML) and Abraaj Holdings in late February.

Read: Founder of Dubai private equity firm Abraaj hands over control of fund

Naqvi remains CEO of Abraaj Holdings, a significant shareholder of AIML, the fund management business.

“VITAL MISSION”

Abraaj, founded in 2002 by Pakistan-born Naqvi, has shaken up its management, suspended new investments and freed up large investors from millions of dollars in capital commitments after deciding to suspend in a planned $6bn new fund.

The firm was managing $13.6bn before it decided to return money to its investors in its new fund.

Read: Dubai’s Abraaj frees private equity investors from capital commitments

Investors in the healthcare fund have hired Ankura Consulting to determine whether Abraaj breached any agreements on money that was not invested but was drawn down, sources told Reuters earlier. Ankura has not responded to Reuters queries

“We are working collaboratively on a range of issues with investors in our Healthcare Fund while also preserving the Fund’s vital mission of delivering affordable, accessible and quality healthcare to underserved markets,” Abraaj said when asked about how the money was handled.

Abraaj had earlier said it had returned the unused capital in December, following discussions with investors and denied allegations that it misused the cash.

Abraaj has seen senior departures including the resignation of its chief financial officer and is considering selling part of its investment management business, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.