ADQ Backs Women-Led Middle Eastern PE Firm

By David G. Barry

ADQ, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, has made a significant commitment to the maiden fund of the Middle East’s first women-led private equity firm.

Aliph Capital said it secured a $125 million from ADQ. Founded by Huda Al-Lawati in 2021, Aliph is seeking to raise $250 million to invest in mid-sized companies in the United Arab Emirates and across the Gulf Cooperation Council – which consists of UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, Murtaza Hussain, ADQ’s chief investment officer – alternative investments and M&A, said the investment in Aliph “underlines our commitment to delivering on a financially driven mandate that creates long-term value for Abu Dhabi.” He said that ADQ will work with Aliph “to capture growth opportunities, which complement our core portfolio and enable us to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns.”

ADQ was founded in 2018 as a holding company for government assets. The smallest of Abu Dhabi’s three sovereign wealth funds, it is estimated to have $157 billion in assets under management, according to Global SWF, a sovereign wealth fund tracker. Abu Dhabi’s other two sovereign wealth funds are the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Mubadala Investment Company. ADQ recently became owner of Ethiad Aviation Group, which connects to 63 destinations in 42 countries.

Based in the UAE, Aliph will seek to acquire sizeable, active positions in privately owned mid-market companies that possess “robust business fundamentals.” In a statement, Al-Lawati said the “timing is perfect” to invest in the region’s “midmarket growth stars, who – when fully equipped with digital and tech enablement levers – will generate significant returns and power the ongoing diversification and transformation of the GCC economy.”

Al-Lawati’s prior roles include being a partner at Gateway Partners, CIO at Savola Group and partner and CIO (MENA) at the Abraaj Group.

Aliph’s team also includes Farah Al Mazrui, who is head of investments. She previously was an associate director at Rothschild & Company and held roles with NBK Capital Partners and Bain & Co.