Growthgate-led Consortium Sells Majority Stake Held in JetSet Equity Partners Realizing Hefty Returns
DUBAI, UAE, October 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/
Growthgate, the middle-market specialist PE firm announced the sale by its majority-owned vehicle namely, JetSet Equity Partners, of 51% of the capital stock of Gama Group MENA FZC, the manager and operator of private jets. The company is a UAE-licensed entity that owns and operates region-wide private aircraft, and provides jet management services, business aviation repair and maintenance facility, and fixed based operations (FBO), out of the Sharjah International Airport.
Growthgate led the negotiations with Gama Aviation plc, who prior to the transaction owned 49% of Gama Group MENA. Gama Aviation plc is a publicly listed company whose shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange, making this deal one of the rare cross-border acquisitions between the UK and the UAE. The transaction represents a return of 1.7x in a risk-free, leverage-free, and professionally-managed venture. JetSet Equity Partners’ ownership includes Growthgate, Crescent Investments and Felix Trading Co.
The UAE, and Sharjah in particular, has gained over the years significant momentum in the aviation sector; starting with the early launch of Air Arabia as a pioneer low-cost carrier in the Middle East, to the expansion and modernization of airport facilities, and finally, to attracting specialist operators such as Gama Group MENA that offer a wide range of services to owners and users of business aviation. The unique location of the UAE at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, its modern infrastructure, and the human capital it harbors, render it a singular platform for offering high-end aviation services that require reliability, expertise, and connectivity to international hubs.
“This transaction represents the best ingredients in a partnership between capital and management. Whilst we invested funds, time and support, Gama Aviation plc invested expertise and management skills, which all contributed to the value creation process of a first-rate aviation venture,” said Karim Souaid, Managing Partner of Growthgate. He added that, “Having contributed previously to the expansion of Gama Aviation and taking it public on the London Stock Exchange in 2014, Growthgate is equally proud to add to it some invaluable operating assets in the Middle East via this latest transaction.”
About Gama Aviation plc
Gama Aviation Plc provides business aviation services. The company offers management services for aircraft owners, such as fuel and insurance, crew, and maintenance; aircraft chartering; aero-medical; and contract air services. It also provides phased or base maintenance, line maintenance, and design and modifications services; fixed base operations (FBO) comprising parking, hangar space, and fueling of aircraft, and the processing of passengers; rotary and general aviation maintenance, aviation engineering design, avionics upgrades, and flight training services; and Airops software for third party FBO and flight management departments. It has operations in the Middle East, North Africa, the United States, Asia, Europe, and internationally. Gama Aviation Plc was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Farnborough, the United Kingdom. Gama Aviation Plc is a subsidiary of Gama Group Limited.
Gama Aviation plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol GMAA.
Growthgate is a GCC-based PE firm that focuses on the middle-market segment and follows a ‘buy-and-build’ investment strategy. The firm specializes in buying into family-owned, well-managed companies with scalable business models, and then scales-up their capacities though serial acquisitions that directly contribute to building lasting value. Growthgate’s current investments span from waste management & environmental services, to construction & building materials, modern retailing, food & consumables, biometrics & technology; and computer animation & themed entertainment.
Growthgate was established in late 2007, and its founders include a select group of State-owned banks, public pension funds, and single-family offices from around the Middle East. The firm has completed to date four liquidity events. As of Q1 2017, Growthgate had a Net Assets Value of $450m and circa $1.8bln of Assets-under-Monitoring.