MENA Private Equity in the London Spotlight

Citadel Capital Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal is a keynote speaker at PEI's Emerging Markets Private Equity Forum and EMPEA's Executive Summit on Private Equity in Africa at the London Stock Exchange

“Many of the countries in East are fundamentally capital-starved, certainly when compared to MENA nations, but have more than adequate frameworks to support substantial investment. That’s just one reason why they present us with opportunities for compelling risk adjusted returns,” said Ahmed Heikal, Chairman and Founder of Citadel Capital, the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and North Africa with US$ 8.3 billion in investments under control.
Heikal was among a select roster of speakers who gathered to assess new opportunities at a one-day executive summit on private equity in Africa organized by the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA) and Financial Times Global Events.

The event, held at the London Stock Exchange on November 2, 2009, brought together an impressive group of private equity players and public figures including former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and African Development Bank Chief Private Equity Officer Martin Poulsen.

Citadel Capital, ranked as the largest private equity firm in Africa by Private Equity International (PEI), has adopted an African investment strategy that has seen it enter multiple markets with complementary value-added investments in sectors as diversified as transportation, cement, mining, agriculture and banking. With each investment, the firm leverages its emerging markets experience as it actively pursues new growth opportunities in one of the world’s most untapped regions.

“We believe that this is the right focus for us right now. We are uniquely positioned to apply the industry development model that Citadel Capital honed in North African economies to markets in East Africa, particularly Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia,” said Heikal.

Immediately following the Private Equity in Africa event, Heikal participated in “The Big Debate” at the Emerging Markets Private Equity Forum organized by Private Equity International and EMPEA on November 3-4, also in London.

In the debate, Heikal was joined by Sev Vettivetpillai, Chief Executive Officer, Aureos Capital, arguing in favor of the motion that the traditional private equity model needs to evolve for those investing in emerging markets.

“Investments in emerging markets in the coming period are unlikely to be the ‘traditional’ large acquisitions,” said Heikal. “They will be modular investments that demand flexibility, control investing and strong management teams with global expertise and deep on-the-ground experience and contact networks. Moreover, the risks inherent in emerging markets investments mean that investors will expect signs of added commitment from general partners. This is just one reason why we feel more firms will follow our lead in contributing at least 10% of the equity component of each and every deal they do,” he concluded.


Citadel Capital is the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and North Africa. The firm focuses on building regional platform investments throughout the region in select industries through acquisitions, turnarounds, and greenfields executed via Opportunity Specific Funds. Citadel Capital’s 17 OSFs now control Platform Companies with investments worth more than US$ 8.3 billion in 14 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.

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