Kuwait’s NBK Capital chases five deals

NBK Capital, the investment arm of the National Bank of Kuwait, is attempting to buy stakes in five firms for a private equity fund, according to Reuters. The bank’s chief executive, Sala al-Fulaij, said that one deal was about to be finalized in Qatar, while one was based in Saudi Arabia. The size of neither deal, nor the size or location of the three remaining deals, was announced.

(Reuters) – Kuwait’s NBK Capital, the investment arm of the major OPEC producer’s biggest lender National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) , is in talks to buy stakes in five firms for a private equity fund, its head said.

“Right in the pipeline we have five firms,” said Chief Executive Sala al-Fulaij, adding that one of deals was about to be finalised in Qatar, while another firm was coming from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

The rest came from Turkey or other Gulf Arab states such as the United Arab Emirates, he added, declining to be more specific.

NBK Capital is focussing on “non-cyclical, defensive” sectors such as education, health or food for its private equity business, he told Reuters on Monday.

NBK Capital is already invested in two Saudi firms.

“We focus on quality, not quantity. The number (of deals) is not important. We only do this if we can add some value,” he said, adding that NBK Capital would only chase medium-sized deals.

Apart from private equity deals, the bank sees also interest from unnamed Saudi investors planning to use Kuwait as gateway to Iraq.

NBK Capital, which has about 170 staff, was also launching a brokerage service in Egypt where parent firm NBK bought Al-Watany Bank in 2007.

“Egypt is a very interesting market, it has much potential,” Fulaij said. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Reed Stevenson)