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2008 Jul 21

Waha Capital and Abraaj Capital enter into strategic partnership for GMMOS Group

Abu Dhabi, July 21, 2008: Waha Capital, the Abu Dhabi-based and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange-listed diversified holding company, has signed an agreement with Abraaj Capital, the premier investment firm specialising in private equity investment in the region, to acquire a 49 per cent strategic stake in GMMOS Group. GMMOS Group is an Abraaj Capital portfolio company and a major regional industrial group operating in the marine, oil & gas and crane-hire sectors across the high-growth Gulf and Caspian markets.

Under the terms of the agreement, Al Waha Maritime has acquired a 49 per cent stake in GMMOS Group: 40 per cent of the strategic investment was acquired from investors exiting the co-investment vehicle, and the remaining nine per cent was acquired from Abraaj Buyout Fund II (ABOF II). Proceeds from the sale of the nine per cent ABOF II stake will be applied towards reducing the cost of the original Abraaj Capital investment.

Waha Capital, which is pursuing a vision of diversified, multi-sector growth, made the investment in GMMOS Group through its wholly-owned subsidiary Waha Maritime. “This acquisition is in line with our strategy to build a significant regional maritime business alongside other businesses from our base in Abu Dhabi," Waha Capital’s Chief Executive Officer, Samer Alhaj, said.

“As one of the leading suppliers to the offshore industry, GMMOS Group is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of companies active in offshore exploration and development in the Gulf and Caspian regions,” said Arif Naqvi, Vice Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, Abraaj Capital.

“There is a clear alignment between the growth strategies of GMMOS Group, which is rapidly expanding in the pan-regional offshore industry, and Waha Maritime, which is focused on expanding its shipping operations and presence in the offshore support industry. This strategic partnership will provide great benefits to both companies in meeting the needs of firms operating in the marine and oil and gas sectors,” Naqvi said.

In May 2007, Abraaj Capital, together with co-investors, acquired 100 per cent of GMMOS Group, through its US$500 million ABOF II.

GMMOS Group is comprised of four well-established business divisions, which include Grandweld, the leading shipyard in the Gulf focusing on the Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV) segment; GMMOS Fabrication, an oil and gas specialised steel fabricator of pressure vessels and skid modules; Stanford Marine, a prominent OSV charter operator in the Gulf; and Gallagher, one of the largest mobile fleet operators in the UAE.

GMMOS has witnessed strong growth over the past few years across all its business divisions. This trend is expected to continue going forward, driven by sustained high oil prices, increased oil and gas-related spending, growth in the regional construction sector, and the overall economic growth in the region.

Alhaj said the acquisition fits perfectly with Waha Capital's strategy of growth and diversification through acquisitions, joint ventures and the creation of new businesses. "This is the first step in the long-term business development programme for Waha Maritime, our newly created subsidiary. Waha Maritime is keen on identifying acquisition and joint venture opportunities in the wider Gulf region,” he said.

Waha Capital unveiled its strategy for diversified business growth in February this year when it announced its transformation from a single-business company into a holding company with four sector-specific subsidiaries: Waha Leasing, Waha Maritime, Waha Financial Services and Waha Land.

At the time, Waha Capital said it would pursue a strategy to drive multi-sector business growth and diversification through acquisitions, joint ventures and the creation of new businesses with investments worth AED 20 billion, and shall focus on building a diversified, Abu Dhabi-based powerhouse that derives its vision from that of the overall vision for Abu Dhabi as outlined by the country’s leadership.

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