Infrastructure and Economic Diversification to Drive Saudi Private Equity Market


With the steady population growth propelling continuous infrastructure development, Saudi Arabia is considered the next big market for private equity and venture capital investors, according to investment specialists in the MENA region. Infrastructure investments amounting to billions of dollars will be required to fund this growth.

It is estimated that approximately US$20 trillion will be spent on infrastructure in the emerging markets within 10 years, and global PE houses will invest a considerable percentage of this amount.

“The attractiveness of the Saudi market to private equity investors has grown sharply in recent years. This has been a function of new private-sector opportunities created by the broad economic diversification and liberalization beyond oil and gas,” said Amr El-Barbary, Managing Director at Citadel Capital, the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa with investments of US$8.3 billion spanning 14 countries and 15 industries.

Healthcare in particular will be growing the demand for private equity stakes. The GCC healthcare market is expected to grow by 9% annually to reach a value of SAR200 billion by 2020. This translates into 25,000 additional beds for in-patient treatments, and substantial facilities and equipment growth for outpatient procedures. The largest share of this demand increase is accounted for by Saudi Arabia, followed closely by the UAE.

“Moreover, the Kingdom’s latest budget is its largest ever, with projected spending of SAR540 billion. Spending on infrastructure and real estate will have a strong knock-on effect in industries ranging from commodities such as steel to services including transportation. This type of environment, and the growing number of companies looking to shed non-core or non-performing assets, creates substantial opportunities for private equity players,” El-Barbary concluded.

El-Barbary will be joined by other leading specialists interested in how to effectively penetrate the Saudi market at the upcoming Outlook Saudi Arabia: Investment and Private Equity Summit. During the 3-day event speakers from major regional and global investment houses will exchange opinions on investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, while government officials of the hosting country will report on the regulations development and potential investment projects.

Outlook Saudi Arabia will take place from 10th-12th April 2010 at Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The event is organized in partnership with SAGIA. For more information please go to:


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