Dubai's Abraaj files for liquidation in Cayman Islands

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Abraaj, the largest private equity firm in the Middle East, filed for provisional liquidity yesterday in the Cayman Islands, requesting PwC to act as its liquiditors.

In a statement, Abraaj, which just a few months ago was handling almost $14bn of investments under management, said: “The appointment of provisional liquiditors imposes a moratorium on the enforcement of all secured claims against the company, allowing time for a proposal to be put to creditors for the orderly restructuring of the company.”

The development – which is highly unusual for the private equity sector – comes following legal action from the Kuwait Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS), a Gulf-based pension fund, and other creditors, for non-payment of debt.

In addition, Abraaj has faced a public fall-out with some of its investors in recent months, among them the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, amid claims the PE firm miss-managed their investments in a $1bn healthcare fund.

Abraaj was founded in 2002 in Dubai by Arif Naqvi, and grew quickly to become one of the leading investors in emerging markets. Abraaj said yesterday it was seeking a restructuring, “in the best interests of all the company’s creditors.”

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.