Middle East and India: Private equity, public gain
The founder of one of the world's leading private equity managers was recently quoted as saying that private equity may be moving from a 'golden age' to a 'purgatory age', with a humorous tone. While this may be somewhat the case in the West, private equity is booming in the Middle East. It is one of the fastest-growing sources for business funding in the region, thanks to surging oil prices, a local real estate boom, the growing sophistication of Middle Eastern investors and Western institutions seeking new emerging markets. Industries and infrastructure are rapidly privatising and, according to a September 2007 report from the Middle East Economic Digest, there is an estimated $1.5trn (£750bn) of infrastructure and industrial projects currently planned or underway in the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC). According to Zawya, a Middle East business information provider, private equity funds devoted to investing in the Middle East and northern Africa grew from $316m (£158m) in 2004 to $5.2bn (£2.6bn) in 2006. Private equity funds formed in the Middle East with commitments of more than $1bn (£500m), and even $2bn (£1bn) when targeting the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region, are now part of the fundraising landscape with a broadened investor base that includes European and US capital.
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