NBK returns 17% gross for MENA’s first mezzanine fund

The $157m 2009-vintage vehicle targeted mid-sized companies in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey.

NBK Capital Partners, the Dubai-headquartered fund manager, has posted a gross internal rate of return of 17 percent for its NBK Capital Mezzanine Fund I, which was launched in 2009 and which it claims was the MENA region’s first mezzanine fund.

The fund was one of the first to launch in MENA following the global financial crisis and offered direct lending to mid-sized firms finding it more difficult than before the crisis to obtain attractive terms from banks.

The closure of the fund comes after it exited eight investments including UAE-based water and wastewater company Metito Utilities, Turkish courier and parcel firm Aras Cargo and Saudi Arabian educational operator Al Rowad Holding.

Yaser Moustafa, senior managing director at NBK Capital Partners, said the performance of the fund “validates the tremendous opportunity for private debt strategies in the region”.

Last year, NBK announced it had raised $160 million at the close of the successor fund, NBK Capital Partners Mezzanine Fund II.

NBK Capital Partners operates across private equity and private credit and also has a recently launched real estate platform. In all, since launching its first fund in 2007, it has completed 29 investments and made 17 exits.

As well as Dubai, parent firm NBK Capital has an office in Kuwait City and a presence in Manama (Bahrain) and Istanbul.