StanChart private equity spinoff targets Middle East

Pedro Gonçalves
StanChart private equity spinoff targets Middle East

Affirma Capital, the newly- spun-off former private equity business of Standard Chartered Bank, is eyeing acquisition opportunities in the Middle East and Africa.

The Singapore-based emerging markets group is targeting deals between $25m and $100m in the region where consumer spending is on the rise, Taimoor Labib, Affirma's founding partner, head of the Middle East & North Africa and chairman of Africa, told Bloomberg.

Affirma Capital, which has assets under management (AuM) of $3.6bn and over $700m for new investments, has been spun out of Standard Chartered Bank after a complex three year process involving over 50 investments across six regions (China, India, South East Asia, South Korea, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East), and a team of 52 investment professionals.

The firm is particularly interested in Egypt, Nigeria and Jordan, Labib said. It is also planning to drop one of its investments in the Middle East and Africa over the next year.

"Nigeria is another country that went through a painful devaluation and are a year or two behind Egypt in their growth story. They need a decent 2019 to continue to recover, but Nigeria 2020 could be interesting as well. People want to consume and businesses want to expand," he said.

"We're positive on Saudi from a big-picture perspective. The strategic plans make sense and investors are waiting to see GDP growth and macro trends in 2019. If you see the improvement continuing, which we have seen in the first half, private equity will return in scale in 2020 or 2021," he added.

In Asia, the firm invested in Shanghai-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Dianrong last month.   It also invest in the Tirupati Group, a leading nutraceuticals-focussed contract research and manufacturing company in India. In May, it agreed to acquire a controlling stake in South Korean Hwa Sung Cosmetics. The firm said it is committed to backing best-in-class management teams, and continues to actively seek investment opportunities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

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