July 25, 2018 / 12:26 PM / in 4 months

Kuwait's Agility bid for part of Abraaj's investment business - document

* Abraaj applied for provisional liquidation in June

* Dubai-based firm embroiled in row over healthcare fund

* Several bids received, says provisional liquidator

By Tom Arnold and Davide Barbuscia

DUBAI, July 25 (Reuters) - Kuwait’s Agility, one of the largest Gulf logistics companies, submitted a bid to acquire part of the investment management business of troubled Middle East private equity firm Abraaj, a document seen by Reuters on Wednesday showed.

Agility is one of several potential buyers of the investment management unit of Dubai-based Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands in June after months of turmoil related to a row with investors over the use of their money in a $1 billion healthcare fund.

Abraaj denies any wrongdoing.

Agility submitted an “acquisition offer” for part of the Abraaj business, according to an extract of a letter dated June 19 and seen by Reuters.

The letter extract said Agility had previously submitted an expression of interest in May “to acquire all or some of the General Partners of the funds” under Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML).

In the June letter, Agility said “we want to reaffirm our commitment to the type of transaction” offered in May.

Agility Chief Executive Tarek Sultan and a spokeswoman for the Kuwaiti firm did not immediately respond to Reuters messages by phone and email on Wednesday requesting comment on the letter.

Four sources familiar with the issue also confirmed a bid had been submitted. Two of those sources, including one financial source, said Agility had bid $180 million to acquire certain fund interests and management rights for AIML.

When asked by Reuters on July 18 for any comment on any bid and its value, the CEO had said at the time the news was “untrue” without elaborating.

Agility’s offer provides an opportunity for international firms to have a role in managing at least one of the funds, one source said.

Abraaj’s joint provisional liquidators, PwC and Deloitte, are seeking a buyer for AIML as they seek to safeguard the funds and repay creditors.

One potential bidder, Cerberus Capital Management, has pulled out after not getting enough investor support for its offer, the joint provisional liquidators said.

That leaves U.S.-based York Capital Management, Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) and Agility among the remaining interested parties, three of the sources said.

“While we cannot comment on the details of individual bidders, we can advise that we have received a number of compelling offers for the fund management business and are reviewing these in conjunction with investors,” the joint provisional liquidators told Reuters in a statement, saying their focus was to ensure the “long-term stability” of Abraaj.

The judge in the Cayman Islands overseeing the liquidation process expressed concern last week about the lack of progress in finding a potential buyer and requested more progress by the next hearing on Aug. 17, two of the sources said. (Editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Edmund Blair)

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