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Monday, 23 April 2018

Abraaj challenges could delay planned IPO or sale of North African hospitals

Abraaj’s challenges could push it to delay the IPO or sale of its North African hospitals business, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg on Sunday. The Dubai-based emerging markets private equity giant will delay the sale, which was originally planned for 1H2018, until October, sources added. Abraaj, which owns a dozen hospitals and clinics in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco worth a collective USD 500 mn, had tapped EFG Hermes and Citigroup back in January to manage the sale. Previous reports had suggested that the company was mulling a listing in either London or the New York.

Abraaj is also apparently in advanced talks to sell its 35% stake in Egyptian education company CIRA, the source added. The company reportedly plans to sell the school stake back to CIRA’s family shareholder, though no final decisions have been taken. Neither Abraaj nor CIRA commented on the news. CIRA holds majority stakes in 24 K-12 schools across Egypt. Abraaj bought into the firm back in 2014.

The news is the latest in a string of decisions to minimize blowback over the alleged misuse of funds from a separate USD 1 bn healthcare fund. Abraaj is considering replacing itself as manager of the fund, turning the fund into a company, or recasting it as a self-governing fund. The healthcare fund in question holds no investments in Egypt and North Africa.

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