Abu Dhabi private equity firm Gulf Capital expects to raise more than $500 million from the sale of its 79 per cent stake in Gulf Marine Services (GMS) before the end of June, the company’s chief executive Karim El Solh said on Wednesday.
Gulf Capital, which has around $1 billion of assets under management, has shortlisted six bidders from more than a dozen interested buyers, Karim El Solh said in an interview.
“Among the short listed bidders are American and Asian strategic trade buyers as well as regional buyout firms,” El Solh said.
“The company’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) has grown from $10 million in 2007 to $100 million last year,” he added.
Credit Suisse, which is also an investor in Gulf Capital’s private equity funds, is advising on the sale.
Gulf Capital had acquired the stake in GMS in 2007. GMS’ clients include prominent oil and exploration firms such as Saudi Aramco, Qatar Petroleum and ADNOC among others.
Firms in the region have been under pressure to exit some of their investments and return funds to their investors after the industry suffered heavily during the financial crisis.
Private equity investments in the region saw a sharp drop in the last couple of years with investors backing out of capital calls, sellers demanding higher prices than buyers were willing to pay and increasing competition from family groups hampering growth.
Gulf Capital expects to close three more acquisitions this year for a total of $200 million.