Sameer Al Ansari: Countdown to 2008

The head of Dubai International Capital gives PEO his thoughts on the year ahead as interest in the Middle East shows little dimunition. Any slowdown he says will give time for consolidation.

Sameer Al Ansari

“Private equity is facing more challenges today than it has done in the past ten years, but I truly believe this is a temporary situation. The industry won’t go away. Private equity has proven itself as a tremendous asset class generating superior returns. It will continue to do this in the future.

One of the immediate priorities is for the credit markets to get cleaned up, which will take at least the next two quarters. In the interim, however, the right deal with a credible sponsor and an appropriate structure will still get funded. 

At DIC, we are not unhappy about the market correction. We’ve had a phenomenal year, and the slowdown will allow us to consolidate the investments we’ve made and to integrate the new people who have joined us. We are unlikely to make an acquisition in the first quarter, but if the right opportunity came along, we would take a serious look.” Sameer Al Ansari, Executive Chairman, Dubai International Capital

Middle Eastern investment firm Dubai International Capital had a strong year as it extended its portfolio. It bought Alliance Medical from Bridgepoint for £600 million (€862 million; $1.248 billion) in November.

The deal followed hard on the heels of its acquisition of Almatis from the Canadian firm Teachers’ Private Capital and European buyout firm Rhône Capital in the largest secondary deal since the problems in the credit markets began.

The firm also bought a 9.9 percent stake in Och-Ziff for $1.18 billion as the US hedge fund manager approached its initial public offering.

The only hiccough in its smooth progress in 2007 is looking like a blessing. It pulled out of the running for Liverpool Football Club, which eventually went to the US duo of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Costs for the club’s new stadium are ballooning and the market is awash with rumours of a quick exit for the pair of highly leveraged investors.