KKR marks entry in Saudi Arabia with Dubai office as regional hub

KKR & Co., the leveraged buyout firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, which is preparing to expand in the Middle East, is busy examining possible investments in Saudi Arabia.

Makram Azar, who joined KKR in September as head of the firm’s Middle Eastern operations said that it’s the biggest market and has scale, it has 28 million people, it has lots of corporates and industries and family businesses that the company could support and give growth capital to.

Yesterday it was confirmed by KKR’s Middle East unit that it received a license to operate in Dubai’s International Financial Centre. It will be using the office as its regional hub. 

The largest recipients of private equity investment for the past four years were Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Azar, former head of sovereign wealth funds at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, concluded, “It’s definitely a good time to be looking at investment opportunities. KKR is looking at a variety of businesses and isn’t restricted to any sector.”