Outlook for Emerging Market Private Capital Fundraising Set to Improve From 2021

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NBK Capital Partners’ Entrepreneurial Approach to MENA Alternative Asset Management featured in new case study from MIT’s Legatum Center at the Sloan School of Management

Dubai, UAE: Recent tepid interest in MENA private capital fundraising is set for a marked about-face starting from 2021, says the head of the region’s premier alternative asset management firm.

And with a lengthy track record of successful investments and profitable exits, and a long list of high-quality investing opportunities ahead, he has reason to be bullish.

“There is a significant and persistent shortfall of MENA private capital penetration relative to other emerging markets. From 2021, we believe those investment flows will begin to change course, with greater global investor confidence shown to the outstanding investment opportunities currently on offer in the MENA market, particularly in education, healthcare, food and beverage, consumer, and industrials and technology,” says Yaser Moustafa, Senior Managing Director of NBK Capital Partners.

Moustafa believes his firm is ideally suited to thrive in the current macroeconomic climate based on four key criteria: team experience, willingness to take risks, flexible thinking, and access to capital.

“NBK Capital Partners is, culturally, an extremely entrepreneurial group of men and women.  We are not passive investors; we are active, hands-on people who are quite passionate about the businesses in which we become involved,” says Moustafa.

The NBK Capital Partners team is the subject of a December 2020 business school case study being published and promoted by the prestigious, US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, entitled: NBK Capital Partners and the Role of Private Capital in Emerging Markets.

“The NBK Capital Partners’ team has set the bar for regional alternative investment fund management.  The time and effort the team expends to ensure portfolio companies create solid returns for their funds is quite remarkable,” says Dina Sherif, Executive Director of the Legatum Center who, along with researcher Regie Mauricio, authored the case study and spent considerable time interviewing the NBK Capital Partners’ management team, as well as those of several of its portfolio companies.

Sherif points out in the case study that “a high-touch” approach that established new management teams, created new processes, and introduced new standards was critical to increasing the value of the [NBK Capital Partners’] investments. This philosophy extended to private credit and real estate, as teams worked with clients to formalize their operations to better service their debt and lease payments.

“Acting as ‘patient capital,’ NBK Capital Partners doubled down on its efforts to ensure that its portfolio created returns for investors in an uncertain environment.” The company employs a “defensive growth” strategy, meaning that it seeks to minimize risk exposure and enhance returns for its investors. 

Moustafa adds: “Our team is always learning and growing with each investment. That is how we believe we are best able to create and extract value from the companies in which we are involved.  Effective risk management is always front of mind.”

Because of their successful investment thesis and institutional identity, says the case study, NBK Capital Partners was able to weather the challenges that whittled the regional private capital community from 50 firms in 2005 to a handful in 2020.

NBK Capital Partners is currently closing the fundraising for its third private credit fund.

About NBK Capital Partners:

NBK Capital Partners is the alternative investments arm of Watani Investment Company K.S.C.C. (“NBK Capital”). Regulated by the DFSA, the firm is headquartered in Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE, and its parent company, NBK Capital has offices in Kuwait City with a presence in Manama and Istanbul. NBK Capital Partners currently advises investment funds across Private Equity and Private Credit and Real Estate platforms. The firm targets companies in the MENA region presenting significant growth potential and opportunities for value creation. Since the launch of NBK Capital’s first fund in 2007, NBK Capital Partners has successfully closed 35 investments across a variety of sectors, with 17 consecutive successful exits.