Saudi investors find PE Partners Forum a learning experience



RIYADH : RASHID HASSAN

Published — Wednesday 13 November 2013

Last update 28 December 2013 3:26 pm

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Private Equity Saudi Arabia 2013, a PE partners forum which provides platform for knowledge sharing and business networking among top-tier private equity investors and investment fund managers, concluded here on Tuesday. Saudi investors said they found the forum a
learning experience.
With an eye on opportunities in the Kingdom, the forum formally began with the guest address of Walid Abukhaled, deputy minister for industrial affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, on Monday.
Now in its second year, the private equity (PE) investors brainstormed on opportunities in the Saudi market during the two-day session, including the Kingdom's resilience to the Arab spring and recession in international market, which attracted global investors by impacting their view about Saudi market as an investment destination, even in nonoil sector.
As the international forum has become the pre-eminent peer to peer gathering for the professionals in private equity firms who are focused on value creation at the portfolio company level, the brainstorming session divided into different segments was a very learning experience for the Saudi investors.
Commenting on the interactive session, Mohammad F. Albokhari, investment adviser, King Abdulaziz and his companions’ foundation for giftedness and creativity, told Arab News: “It was a very learning experience for us. We are involved in private equity and learned a lot. Moreover, such an interaction creates opportunity for venture capital, thus paving the way for value and opportunity for investment,” he said on the sideline of the PE partners forum.
Saud M. Al-Suwaileh, Riyadh manager Saudi-US Business Council, also applauded the knowledge sharing and business networking PE forum as a good experience for Saudi investors. He said the business of investing remained at the core of the private equity partnership.
The PE partners forum ended with Saudi access summit, which was the new feature this year and aimed at guiding about fundraising and doing business in the Kingdom.
Speaking during the access summit, Edward Burton, CEO and president, Saudi-US Business Council and Khaled Soliman, group CEO Galadari Brothers, UAE, explored the strategies and market insights for investors to venture into the most auspicious market in the Middle East, including the role of SAGIA and Zakat in doing business in the Kingdom.
Exploring standard market practices for private equity deals, Nabil Issa, partner, King and Spalding, Saudi Arabia, made a comparison of market practices under English and Saudi laws.
Commenting on the forum, an official of the Institute for International Research (IIR), Middle East, which organized the PE partners forum, said: “Aimed at making a sense of continuing flux in the global economy and building a better informed investment strategy, the forum succeeded in bringing together institutional investors and business owners with top tier regional and global fund managers and provided an exclusive experience featuring leading edge insights on the most promising sectors and the Kingdom's growth capital potential.”
The event featured topical debates led by business leaders, pivotal discussions on the evolving shape of the private equity sector in Saudi Arabia and ample networking opportunities.

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