August 25th, 2011 by Tom Minney
Tiny, small and medium businesses in Egypt and Tunisia, later Algeria and Morocco, are set to benefit from a new €30 million ($43.2 mn) SANAD Fund for MSME (www.sanad.lu). This was set up in August 2011 by German development bank KfW Entwicklungsbank with funding from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Commission and will offer debt and equity financing to partner institutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that serve micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Other target countries include Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.
The fund is expected to attract further investments from public and private bodies. The partners who will help invest the money will be banks, microfinance institutions, financial service providers, leasing and factoring companies, guarantee funds or venture capital funds. The fund will also offer them technical help to build their skills and reach.
Development finance alternative asset manager Finance in Motion GmbH (www.finance-in-motion.com) and Oppenheim Asset Management Services S.à r.l. (www.oppenheim.lu) will manage the new fund which will be structured as a Luxembourg-based Specialized Investment Fund, SICAV-SIF, involving different share classes.
By facilitating access to finance in the region, SANAD – literally “support” in Arabic – aims to strengthen the MSME sector and local financial markets in the MENA region in line with the principles of responsible finance.
July 15th, 2010 by Tom Minney
From when trading started at 10am last Sunday, 11 July, NASDAQ Dubai (www.nasdaqdubai.com) is routing all trades in its listed equities through the trading platform of Dubai Financial Market (DFM – www.dfm.ae). NASDAQ Dubai is one of the leading exchanges contesting the crown of financial centre of the Middle East and North Africa, and also has potential for channeling investments into African countries.
Trading for the first few sessions this week was reported to have gone well and several brokers were said to be inquiring about membership.
NASDAQ Dubai describes itself as: “the international financial exchange serving the region between Western Europe and East Asia. It welcomes regional as well as global issuers that seek regional and international investment. The exchange currently lists shares, derivatives, exchange-traded commodities, structured products, Sukuk (Islamic bonds) and conventional bonds.”
The move has been prepared since last December, and is part of a consolidation between the exchanges and aiming to boost liquidity on NASDAQ Dubai. Essa Kazim, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of DFM, said in a press release: “Cooperation between the two exchanges will increase, driving the expansion of Dubai as a centre of capital markets dynamism and innovation. Today’s outsourcing is a major step for us and the region. Through these growing links, DFM gains a wider array of product offerings and international expertise, while NASDAQ Dubai benefits from DFM’s high liquidity and enormous base of over 552,000 investors.”
Clearing, settlement and custody functions for NASDAQ Dubai equities also migrated to DFM’s systems on 11 July under an outsourcing agreement. Jeff Singer, Chief Executive of NASDAQ Dubai, said: “This new structure brings together more than half a million individual investors on DFM with NASDAQ Dubai’s institutional investors, many of them based outside the region. It positions Dubai as a leading international capital markets hub, providing investors with excellent liquidity and issuers with a choice of regulatory frameworks.”
In May 2010 DFM acquired two thirds of the shares of NASDAQ Dubai through an acquisition of shares from Borse Dubai and NASDAQ OMX, the international exchange group. Borse Dubai still owns one third of the shares. NASDAQ Dubai remains a separate exchange regulated to international standards by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which gave approval for the outsourcing last week. DFM is regulated by the United Arab Emirates’ Securities and Commodities Authority. NASDAQ Dubai remains a separate company inside the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). It retains its own legal framework, listing rules and Members.
DFM and NASDAQ Dubai equities are now displayed together on the DFM website www.dfm.ae. NASDAQ Dubai equities also continue to be displayed separately on the NASDAQ Dubai website www.nasdaqdubai.com. Brokers who are members of NASDAQ Dubai access the DFM trading platform either directly, or through NASDAQ Dubai’s Market Place Services function, or through another broker.
Under the outsourcing, NASDAQ Dubai’s equities remain listed on NASDAQ Dubai and are not listed on DFM. Trading of equity derivatives continues to take place on NASDAQ Dubai’s own trading platform and systems.
NASDAQ Dubai’s opening hours are now 10am to 2pm UAE time (6am to 10am GMT) Sunday –Thursday. These are also DFM’s opening hours. Previously, NASDAQ Dubai’s opening hours were 10am to 5pm UAE time (6am to 1pm GMT) Sunday-Thursday.
July 30th, 2009 by Tom Minney
Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) announced on 27 July it has bought controlling stakes in Shoresal and Almes – both North African construction companies – for a total USD $26.2 million. ECP (www.ecpinvestments.com) is an international private equity firm focused on investing across the African continent with a nine-year track record and the first to raise more than $1.6 billion to invest in companies across Africa.
It is expanding its North African investments.
Thomas Gibian, chief executive officer of ECP, says: “ECP has invested in various African engineering and construction companies since 2006, and we have long been evaluating opportunities in the North African market…Unlike many western markets, North African real estate and construction is generally driven by a lack of supply to meet the increasing demand from both foreign and domestic companies.”
In Algeria, ECP acquired a $13.8 million stake in Shoresal, a real estate development company, which will use ECP’s investment, in part, to finance the development of a 14-storey Class A office tower in the Bab Ezzouar business district of Algiers. According to the company’s research, demand for office space in Algeria’s major cities is approximately eight times greater than the current supply, driven by a tripling in the number of multinational companies since 2000.
The investment was made through ECP’s MENA Growth Fund LLC, which was established in September 2007 to capitalize on investment opportunities throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
In Morocco, ECP invested $12.4 million in Almes, the holding company of Entreprise Marocaine de Travaux (EMT) and Somadiaz. EMT specializes in public works infrastructure projects such as dams, levees and airports. Somadiaz is an equipment leasing company that provides specialized equipment to commercial and industrial clients. The companies will expand in Morocco and into neighbouring countries – such as Libya and Mauritania – where demand for public works and other construction services are also high. ECP’s investment is in partnership with Alliances Développement Immobilier, a leading integrated real estate and tourism group in Morocco.
The investment in Almes was made through the Moroccan Infrastructure Fund, a joint venture between ECP and Attijariwafa bank, which was established in December 2006 to capitalize on the ongoing reforms that are spurring economic growth in Morocco. It targets numerous sectors including telecoms, transportation, energy, power and water.
“ECP views the construction markets across North Africa as uniquely poised for growth,” said Vincent Le Guennou, executive vice president of ECP. “We believe the strong supply and demand imbalance in the sector is a compelling reason to invest.”