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Tom Speechley, the general manager of Abraaj Capital that is headquartered in UAE said that the company intends to launch new investment initiative in Palestine during the coming months , announcing the creation of an endowment to manage social initiative to support the education and health sectors in Gaza Strip with about $10 million . Tom Speechley added: “we are looking forward to investing a long term investment in Palestine. We are mostly interested in Small size companies and this is an important component in our strategy. We are preparing an investment initiative related to small size companies and will announce it as soon as we finish the necessary arrangements and procedures.”On the other hand, Mr. Speechley said that “Abraaj Capital” allocated $10 million to finance social initiative in the education and health sectors in Gaza Strip. And this initiative will be managed by the Welfare Association, targeting orphans whom are considered victims of the Israeli attacks on Gaza.
He added: “In addition to achieving profitable investments in any country, we make sure to have social investment “.While Abraaj Capital announced, last week, finishing the first close of the Palestine Growth Capital Fund, which will provide private equity growth capital investments and management support to high growth small and mid-cap companies (SMCs) in Palestine. The Fund was able to achieve a strong first closure of $36 million from $50 million with active support from Fund partners such as PIF (Co-sponsor of the Fund in Palestine), BoP, Cisco, EIB, and Abraaj Capital.The fund mainly targets the pioneers of Palestine, and is considered a backbone to the Palestinian exports to the external labor markets, where many Palestinians export a number of talents and pioneers.
Mr. Speechley added that the increase in the unemployment rate is considered one of the main challenges in the region, and it is believed that investing in small and medium sized-enterprises is the most important mechanism to reduce the unemployment rate. In Palestine, in particular, the small size companies are the best to achieve an economic diversification, and economic sovereignty. Noting that the most important criterion to choose a company to invest in, is not the size of it but its prospects for expansion and growth, and its ability to expand geographically.
He said that the first investment of the fund was engaged in an agricultural company in Jordan Valley Region “Thimar Agricultural Investment Company” that is specialized in producing seeds and vegetables. Adding that their investment in the company enabled it to raise its production by three times and expand its activities to include packing and providing services to farmers. This investment created a Palestinian trademark “Thimar” that is traded in the United States and Europe and will be able to enter the Gulf Market Soon.
The maximum investment per “Palestine Growth Capital Fund” is $7.5 million. Mr Speechley said: “In terms of ownership, a controlling stake is not favored and we prefer minority stake where our investment puts us in a location that gives us the ability to influence the company’s management and draw up plans. We are not looking for acquisitions but partnerships to assist the company to grow so that we will be able to withdraw after 4-5 years, either by selling or by providing an IPO. “He stressed the importance of providing a good management to be able to attract investors.
Speechley reported that "Abraj Capital" is looking forward to meaningful investments in Palestine, in addition to its role in the development of the Palestinian economy, he said: we are committed to achieving returns on our investments, and seeking to influence the overall Palestinian economy.
Speechley praised the role of investment fund ", which played a very big role in launching the Palestine growth capital fund". He added that Palestine growth capital fund was adopted by Palestine investment fund ideas.
"Leadership to develop institutions" is the platform group of "Abraaj capital" to invest in SMEs, amounting to $ 650 million, targeting investments per size ranges between $ 500,000 and $ 15 million, And focus mainly on small and medium- winning sized companies, needing capital and institutional and strategic support to achieve growth, conducts activity initiative at the regional and local levels, allowing investment portfolio companies and concrete savings as a result of the large size of their transactions, and enhance the ability of these companies to geographic expansion.
Group of abraaj capital, one of the largest groups of competent management of private equity investment in emerging economies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Plus Turkey, and since its launch in 2002, it brought together nearly 7 billion dollars, and distributed profits to investors amounted to about 3 billion and take the Dubai-based group, manages offices in Riyadh, Istanbul, Cairo, Singapore, Mumbai, London , Karachi, Beirut, Ramallah, Oman, Casablanca, Algeria and Tunisia, and employs more than 170 person.
"Abraj" Manages 8 funds containing 4 funds to buy shares of ownership, and "leadership for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in the region of the Middle East)," and "Al-Qantara fund specialized for the SMEs in Africa), and " basis yield generating private equity real estate fund " for income-producing real estate across sales and leasing.