Abraaj Investors to cut stake in Nigeria’s C&I Leasing After Share Sale

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By Emele Onu

Abraaj’s equity seen at 49%-51% from 70% after rights offer

C&I Leasing issuing shares to fund marine business expansion

Abraaj Group, the private-equity firm forced into liquidation last year after being accused mismanaging investor funds, will reduce its stake in C&I Leasing Plc by not subscribing to a share sale to existing investors.

“They have made it known to us they are not willing to take up their rights,” C&I Chief Executive Officer Andrew Otike-Odibi said by phone. Abraaj obtained the approval of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission to convert a $10 million loan to C&I into equity, which when executed will give liquidators of Abraaj 70% of the Lagos-based company.

C&I started the process this week to raise 3 billion naira ($8.3 million) through a rights offering to fund the acquisition of offshore vessels for marine and oil business expansion. Abraaj’s shareholding in the company could drop to 49% and 51% after the issuance, Otike-Odibi said. Abraaj’s office in Lagos didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Abraaj, once one of the most high-profile private-equity companies in the Middle East, managed about $14 billion, until its downfall last year, saddling investors with losses of $1 billion. Backers had included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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