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Waha weighs second investment fund for Mideast

[DUBAI] Waha Capital PJSC, the Abu Dhabi investor which co-founded the MENA Infrastructure Fund with HSBC Holdings Plc in 2007, is weighing a second such investment vehicle to profit from higher demand for building projects.

Waha, which holds a 17.9 per cent limited partner stake in the fund, "is looking at the possibility of launching Fund II," Chief Executive Officer Salem Rashid Al Noaimi said in a phone interview from Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Its size "will be north" of the US$300 million that the first fund raised, he said.

MENA Infrastructure Fund, which also has Fajr Capital as a co-sponsor, has invested in four projects including the Alexandria International Container Terminals in Egypt and Saudi Arabia's Qurayyah Independent Power Project. The size of Waha's investment in Fund II is still being considered, Mr Al Noaimi said.

Waha is also in the final stages of receiving approval from the market regulator to invite institutions and wealthy individuals to invest in its regional-focused equity fund and global fixed-income fund, Al Noaimi said. Waha manages about 2 billion dirhams (US$545 million) of its own money in both.

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The equities fund has returned 40 per cent since the beginning of 2014 until March, while the fixed-income fund delivered 55 per cent since January 2012, Waha said Sunday.

"We have a great business that is doing well for us and we are opening it up for other investors to come alongside us," Mr Al Noaimi said. "We'll be able to do some good fund raising." Waha earlier on Sunday reported a 20 per cent rise in first- quarter profit to 182.2 million dirhams, as it benefited from its stake in aircraft leasing company AerCap Holdings NV.

The shares fell 1.9 per cent to 2.55 dirhams at 2.55 pm Sunday. They have dropped 10 per cent this year compared to a 1.5 per cent rise in Abu Dhabi's benchmark index.