4/7/11 8:03 PMDebut Palestinian PE Siraj Fund Management reaches first closePage 1 of 2http://www.efinancialnews.com/story/2011-02-09/siraj-world-bank-palestine
Debut Palestinian PE fund reaches first close
09 Feb 2011
The world’s first dedicated Palestinian private equity fund, Siraj Fund Management, hasheld a first close of $60m as the private sector looks to capitalise on an expected growthsurge.
According to a World Bank report last year, the Palestinian territories are beginning to foster anenvironment for private enterprise despite being affected by the conflict with Israel and internaldivision between its two main political parties.Economic growth in Gaza was around 8% in 2010, with private sector investment hampered byrestrictions on the movement of people and goods. Much of the region’s economic expansionstems from international aid.The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahualso recently pledged to increase privateinvestment with plans for severalinfrastructureprojects in Gaza, including electricity anddesalination plants.According to data provider Dealogic, there have been only 10mergers and acquisitionsin
Palestinian territories since 1995, four of which occurred last year. None of these were privateequity deals.Siraj, founded by Massar International, now expects to reach $80 million by its final close in thesecond quarter of this year. The firm is one of three private equity firms actively fund raising withboth the Middle East Venture Capital Fund and the Palestinian Investment Fund backed Abraaj PEexpected to announce closes of $50m apiece within weeks.Senior associate at Siraj, Rasmiya Masoud, said: “We are delighted to reach first close on the fund.Our current deal pipeline includes firms across a range of sectors of including manufacturing,agriculture, ICT, healthcare and transportation.“We expect to make around 25 investments of $2-3m each over the 10-year life of the fund. Under diversification rules agreed with our limited partners, the fund will invest no more than 15% in aspecific sector and no more than 35% in any one company.”Despite successfully reaching the first close, the fund is still looking for a manager with anappointment understood to be close, according to sources close to the firm.Investors in the fund includeOverseas Private Investment Corporation(OPIC), the George Soros