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Unitra METS continues family business flight to private equity in UAE

Family-owned Unitra METS Group, a $160 million specialty beverage distributor based in Dubai, has sold a majority stake of its business to ADIC MENA Partners, a private equity fund managed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Company.

"We are very proud of our success in building Unitra METS into one of the UAE's leading specialty beverage distributors and look forward to expanding the business regionally with the support of our new partners at the ADIC private equity fund," said Najib Al Zarooni, chairman of Unitra METS Group.

ADIC's acquisition takes the form of a leveraged buy-out and continues its strategy of buying majority stakes from the region's family business owners who are starting to take advantage of a change in the law pushed though at the end of last year.

In September 2007 UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed an amendment to the existing companies' law to allow family businesses to float a minimum 30% stake in their companies in an IPO. The level was previously set at 55%.

ADIC MENA Partners is $500 million fund that is also being targeted at high net worth individuals looking to invest a minimum of $5 million. "We are confident this transaction will demonstrate how successfully a private equity firm can partner with a family-owned business to build market-leading regional businesses," said Robert Wages, Executive Director of ADIC Private Equity.

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