January 7, 2008, United Arab Emirates - Growthgate-led Consortium acquires Part of Gama Holdings Ltd

Gama Holding Ltd, owner of several business aviation companies in Europe including Gama Aviation Ltd is eying the region for expansion.

Growthgate, the GCC-based specialist buyout firm, has announced that a Consortium led by it and which comprises Crescent Investment LLC and few other strategic investors, has reached a final agreement to acquire 33.33% of Gama Holdings Ltd and will control 51% of the capital stock of Gama Middle East and North Africa, under formation. Gama is a privately held corporation with EBITDA of circa $10 million for the reporting period of 2007/2008. The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.


 Gama Holdings Ltd owns a number of leading business aviation companies in Europe, including Gama was founded in 1983 by Marwan Khalek and Stephen Wright and operates principally out of Farnborough Airport in the UK with private jet services covering destinations in the US, EU, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The business activities of Gama comprise private jet ownership, charter services, business jet management, medical transport operations and aircraft maintenance.


 “The new investment partners and Gama are committed, in the near future, to develop the MENA entity in order to cover all key destinations in the region and engage in Fixed Based Operations using Sharjah Airport as the principal regional hub as well as working to secure AOCs in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi.” Said Marwan Khalek, Gama’s founder and CEO “The company also intends to further expand in Europe using a base in Germany to support our work in the Russian market and will capitalise on our awaited FAA Part 135 licence to further increase our North American business. Finally, the company will seek further acquisitions in the Near East (India) and Asian (China) emerging markets”


 Gama manages 32 aircraft, of which 7 are expected to be added to the fleet between January to June 2008 (2 in the US and the balance in the UK). The types of aircraft owned, operated and managed by Gama include a wide range of Eurocopter, Sikorsky, Learjet, Hawker, Challenger, Gulfstream and Boeing products.


Growthgate follows a ‘buy and build’ model that focuses on acquiring successful companies with strong management teams and turning them into regional champions through a series of carefully selected and well priced acquisitions, prior to monetizing the investments via an exit sale.   This deal marks the second direct equity investment of Growthgate since its capitalization in May 2007.


In June 2007, Growthgate acquired 49% of E-Freight, a UAE-based logistics and transport company with growing regional operations in the Middle East and Africa. Growthgate was established by a select group of institutional and individual investors from the Middle East comprising national banks, pension funds, trading groups and prominent merchant families from the region.