Abraaj Capital Acquires Riyada Ventures To Lead New SME Push

| Nov 24, 2009 | comment 4 Comments
Abraaj Capital

Riyada Ventures

Abraaj Capital, the Dubai-based private equity firm has announced that it has signed a deal to fully acquire Riyada Ventures, the venture capital firm based in Jordan.

The acquisition is at the core of a new push by Abraaj into the small and medium enterprise (SME) space, which is aimed at stimulating and supporting entrepreneurial activity in this vital segment of the MENA region’s economies.

Riyada Ventures, which was set up in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in 2005, and has an office in Cairo, just won the ‘Venture Capital Firm of the Year’ award for a second straight year at the Private Equity World MENA 2009 conference in Dubai just a few days ago.

Following the acquisition, Riyada will be folded into Abraaj and renamed Riyada Enterprise Development Company (REDCO), with Khaldoon Tabaza, the Riyada chief executive, continuing at the helm.

This new subsidiary will be investing growth capital in small and medium-sized businesses, with plans for Abraaj to provide $200m of its own capital, with expectations that amount will grow much larger.

The company will provide what Arif Naqvi, the chief executive of Abraaj, called “patriotic capital” through partnerships with governments in the region to foster the expansion of small and medium-sized businesses.

REDCO will try to follow on the footsteps of Abraaj’s earlier SME successes, including the shipping and logistics firm Aramex and internet company Maktoob, which was recently acquired by Yahoo!.

For companies in which it invests, Abraaj will provide a dedicated back-office platform to offer both strategic support services and operational functionality to facilitate growth plans and provide mentorship to the young entrepreneurs in the SME space, which comprises more than 80% of economic activity across the MENA region.

The acquisition comes at an active period for Abraaj, which also announced it had raised $375 Million, increasing its capital to $1.5 Billion, aiming for property investments in the region and looking to broaden its asset management offerings.

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  • Darwin

    Wow, that is quite a feat. I imagine the competition would be very tough, so winning this award, especially for the second consecutive year is great for the business.
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