Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Being socially responsible investor in the Gulf

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Socially responsible investing, which takes into account social, environmental and governance risks, is arguably still in its infancy in the Gulf, where the enormous wealth created by hydrocarbons sometimes flows into extravagant projects like an indoor ski resort.

But Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, managing director of Abraaj Capital – the Middle East’s biggest private equity firm — sees SRI as enlightened self interest and the firm puts its own money where its mouth is.

Fred Sicre, executive director of Abraaj, told us the firm — which signs up to United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (UNPRI) — has a 5+5+5 plan, where it encourages employees to donate 5% of bonuses to a charitable pool, 5 days for community/charitable work and the firm itself gives 5% of net revenues to a charity. Sicre himself taught at the first class yesterday on entrepreneureship.

“When we invest for pure business reasons into an education business or a hospital group, in a certain sense, we are looking at this also from a sustainable investment (point of view) for this region because the competitiveness of a country is directly linked to the health of the population,” Sicre says.

from DealZone:

Diamonds in the rough

Diamond pictureSomewhere out there are ailing companies in need of a turnaround specialist. These experts -- also known as company doctors -- parachute into troubled businesses to turn their business around.

Funds, such as Oaktree Capital, HIG Capital and Apollo Management, specialise in buying up companies in distress (either through buying equity or debt) and turning them round.

Signs of life in Japanese private equity

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The conventional wisdom is that private equity is comatose in Japan, at best, with some major firms leaving Tokyo, deal numbers sliding and even old Japan hands like Advantage Partners seen as looking to exit mature investments.

Yet Richard Folsom, Representative Partner of Advantage, tells a very different story with deals in the pipeline, finance on tap and some ripe fruit about to be picked — even if his firm has yet to announce a new investment deal this year.

from Funds Hub:

Counting sheep

By Lorraine Turner

 

Speakers at the Reuters Hedge Fund and Private Equity summit this week were asked "what keeps you awake at night" and the answers were wide-ranging, from "my 7-week old daughter" to "the next meteorite".

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Some executives are left counting sheep over the heavyweight questions that are plaguing our economies such as how low investment markets will fall or how the credit crisis can be eased as businesses remain stymied by a lack of credit.

from Funds Hub:

Watch Pi Capital CEO David Giampaolo give his investment outlook

Giampaolo was speaking today at the London leg of the Reuters Hedge Fund and Private Equity Summit.

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from Funds Hub:

Watch hedge fund manager Colin McLean give his market outlook

McLean was speaking today at London leg of the Reuters Hedge Fund and Private Equity Summit.

from Funds Hub:

An unpleasant prospect

rtxd578There's no shortage of ill will towards bankers at the moment.

But some executives in the private equity and hedge funds industries feel they are getting beaten with the same stick by politicians and the public, despite feeling relatively blameless in this crisis.

BC Partners managing partner Andrew Newington, speaking at the Reuters Hedge Fund & Private Equity Summit in London today, explained.

from Funds Hub:

$3 trillion of hedge fund talent? “Absolute nonsense!”

The once-booming hedge fund industry has shrunk rapidly over the past 9 months to roughly $1-$1.4 trillion, as investors have pulled out their cash following some pretty lacklustre returns.

kfd05However, according to Mark Kary, chief executive of Polar Capital, the industry never really deserved to have grown to the best part of $3 trillion in the first place.

Audio – And then there were two?

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Priceline.com CEO Jeff Boyd told the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit in New York that he thinks that at least two out of the four players in the online travel sector – Priceline, Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia – could be in a position for either an IPO or a sale once the economy turns up.

“I think that the most important fact there is that two of the major players are owned by private equity,” he said. ”Orbitz is controlled by Blackstone. And Travelocity and Sabre Group are controlled by TPG and Silver Lake Partners. And what that means is eventually they will be looking for a way to monetize those private equity investments, and there’s two ways of doing it.

Young minds, old bodies offer private equity opportunities

Healthcare and education offer a new frontier for Middle
East private equity firms as they take advantage of dramatic
demographic changes in the region.

At least that’s the view held by Dubai-based private equity
player Abraaj Capital.

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