First sharia-compliant private equity fund goes way of Dechert

Dechert” />Dechert has scooped a key role as lead adviser for the first sharia-compliant private equity fund, CMH Enterprise Fund I.

Acting for Bahraini bank Capital Management House (CMH), Dechert won the deal via a recommendation from existing client Gulf Finance House.

The offshore vehicle, which will invest mainly in the Gulf and North Africa regions, with some interests in Europe and North America, is seeking to raise $150m (£75.73m).

Teams from Dechert’s London and New York offices both worked on the deal. The London team was led by Islamic finance partner Abradat Kamalpour.

Kamalpour said: “The push towards private equity in the Islamic financing world is very exciting right now. Historically the Middle East has very much been focused on real estate, but investors and companies are realising it’s safe to branch out into other areas.”

With Islamic financial instruments flourishing in Middle Eastern jurisdictions such as Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar, the market for a broad range of products is developing quickly, Kamalpour explained.

With no presence in the Middle East, Dechert’s Islamic finance capabilities are run out of its London office.

Kamalpour said: “The firm started its Islamic finance practice just one and a half years ago and it’s since become a very strong area.”

CMH provides Islamic structured and corporate finance, investment advisory, asset management and private equity products.

Kamalpour said: “I’d say that private equity is the next big thing in Islamic financing.”

CMH Enterprise Fund I plans to invest in manufacturing, utility, energy, healthcare, services and technology-related companies.

Dechert’s US team was led by partners Timothy Clark and Andreas Junius. Walkers advised CMH on Cayman Islands law, while Al-Sarraf & al-Ruwayeh advised on Bahraini law.