A&O, CC go head-to-head on record Middle East private equity deal

Allen & Overy

(A&O) has helped secure the largest-ever Middle Eastern private equity transaction.

The firm, led by corporate partner Pervez Akhtar, advised Morningtide Invest and Egyptian private equity house Citidel Capital on the $1.4bn (£703.56m) sale of Egyptian Fertilizers Company (EFC) to Abraaj Capital.

A Clifford Chance team led by Simon Clinton advised Abraaj on the acquisition financing, with Deutsche Bank acting as arranger.

Akhtar said: “People talk a lot about private equity deals coming out of the Middle East and into other areas, such as Europe. Private equity deals staying in the region is something that is just starting to grow.

“Our private equity practice is growing across the entire region and I think deals like this demonstrate its progress.”

Private equity deals in the Middle East have been far less substantial in the past, with the $142m (£71.36m) acquisition of United Arab Emirates company Damas Jewellery by Shuaa Partners being the previous largest deal.

Clifford Chance’s Clinton said: “It’s not easy to make the successful Western private equity model fit into what is essentially an emerging market. This is why this deal is important for the Middle East.”

Akhtar also advised Morningtide Invest as part of the consortium led by Citadel Capital to acquire EFC in 2005.