Citadel Capital Wins Top Honors at Private Equity World Awards MENA

A panel of industry experts names Citadel Capital the region's Best Private Equity House, while the firm's Founder and Chairman is recognized with a Special Merit Award for lifetime achievement

Citadel Capital, the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) with US$ 8.3 billion in investments under control, was recently voted the Best Private Equity House in the Middle East and North Africa by a panel of industry leaders at the Private Equity World Awards MENA 2009.

The third annual Private Equity World MENA conference, held at Dubai’s Shangri-La Hotel on 23 November, also recognized Ahmed Heikal, Citadel Capital’s Founder and Chairman, with a Special Merit Award for his lifetime contribution to the regional finance industry.

“It is certainly an honor to be recognized at this year’s Private Equity World MENA conference, both as a firm and as an individual,” said Heikal. “2009 has been a challenging year for investors of all stripes and from all corners of the globe — but it has also provided a unique environment in which to evaluate approaches to regional investment and prepare for the unprecedented opportunities that follow periods of widespread uncertainty.”

After incrementally building out its platform investments during the year, Citadel Capital is now aggressively pursuing new transactions, Heikal added. “At Citadel Capital, we rode out the regional crisis by focusing on nurturing our existing Platform Companies and pursuing bolt-on acquisitions, but it is now time to do deals as we head into what will likely prove a great vintage year for private equity investing in the Middle East and Africa.”

Citadel Capital recently announced two major new acquisitions including one that will form the core of its eighteenth Platform Company.

The Private Equity World MENA conference and awards were created to recognize the leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and pioneers in the MENA private equity and venture capital industry.

Citadel Capital is ranked by Private Equity International (PEI) as the largest private equity firm in Africa based on PE assets under management. Since the firm was established 2004, it has generated over US$ 2.4 billion in cash returns for its shareholders and limited partners on investments of US$ 650 million.

“The year has been very busy at Citadel Capital as we have been active on two fronts” said Marwan Elaraby, Citadel Capital Managing Director. “We have focused our efforts on completing both bolt-on acquisitions as we have incrementally built-out our existing Platform Companies and on continued regional expansion. We were particularly active in closing two major acquisitions in Sudan’s agriculture sector as well as an acquisition in that country’s transport and logistics industry. We expect to make several acquisitions in one or more East African markets in 2010, with our sights currently being set on Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya.”

Citadel Capital currently controls 18 Platform Companies in 15 industries including mining, cement, transportation and food. Its footprint spans 12 countries across the region.

Earlier this year, Citadel Capital was named Best Private Equity House in Africa by both emeaFinance (the emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa finance magazine) and African Banker magazine. The firm was earlier the recipient of Global Investor magazine’s Middle East Award. The firm was also named MENA Private Equity House of the Year by Acquisitions Monthly, the international buy-out publication.

In recognizing Heikal with its Special Merit Award, the Terrapinn committee acknowledged both his work as Founder and Chairman of Citadel Capital as well as his earlier career at EFG Hermes. Before founding Citadel Capital, Heikal was an executive board member and Managing Director of EFG Hermes Holding. He joined the firm as its third professional and led its transformation from a small financial consultancy into the leading investment bank in the Arab world — and the second-largest investment bank in global emerging markets. His mark remains: Heikal hired EFG Hermes’ current Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Brokerage, among other key executives, as he rolled out its five lines of business.


Citadel Capital is the leading private equity firm focusing on building regional platform investments throughout the Middle East and Africa in select industries through acquisitions, turnarounds, and greenfields executed via Opportunity Specific Funds. Citadel Capital’s 18 OSFs now control Platform Companies with investments worth more than US$ 8.3 billion in 15 industries, including mining, cement, transportation, food and energy. Since 2004, the firm has returned more than US$ 2.4 billion in cash to investors, more than any other private equity firm in the region. Citadel Capital is the largest private equity firm in Africa by PE assets under management (2004-2009, as ranked by Private Equity International). For more information, visit

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Ghada Hammouda
Head of Corporate Communications,
Citadel Capital (S.A.E.) (click to reveal this email)

Tel: +20 2 2791-4440 • Fax: +20 22 791-4448
Mobile: +20 16 662-0002