The Business Year

OM23_FI_Rakiza_Muneer Al Muneeri – copia

SAUDI ARABIA - Finance

Muneer Al Muneeri

CEO, Rakiza Fund

Bio

Muneer Al Muneeri has over 20 years of international investment experience and an excellent track record in private equity and venture capital investments as well as fund management and corporate finance. He has worked on a number of infrastructure projects in Oman and overseas and has expertise in sourcing and structuring investment opportunities from inception to execution. Most recently, he led the establishment of the local initiatives division within the Oman Investment Authority, focusing on strategic projects. His previous role was instrumental in founding the Fund initiative.

"Saudi Arabia is currently the largest market for infrastructure investment opportunities in the Gulf."

Muneer Al Muneeri, CEO of Rakiza Fund, talks to TBY about how the firm is targeting investment in Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Which sectors of the Kingdom’s economy does Rakiza see the most growth and opportunities today?
Muneer Al Muneeri: Infrastructure sub-sectors in the Kingdom offer a variety of opportunities in both greenfield and brownfield investments. In brownfield investments, there are divestment opportunities arising from private sector exits in social infrastructure and utilities. Additionally, the Saudi government started the privatization of assets, including energy infrastructure, which opens up opportunities for Rakiza as an infrastructure investor. In greenfield investments, KSA is developing a large pipeline of PPP opportunities. As a strategy, Rakiza is targeting assets in renewable energy, power and water, social infrastructure, telecommunications, regulated utilities, transport and logistics, and environmental projects.

How do you assess the current infrastructure development in the Saudi Arabia?
Muneer Al Muneeri: Saudi Arabia is currently the largest market for infrastructure investment opportunities in the Gulf. The goals of Vision 2030 require vast private investment into the infrastructure sector. The rise in oil prices this year following the slump of the last decade and the pandemic has made it likely that the government will follow through on its ambitious energy and infrastructure plans. In 2021, 16 transactions reached a financial close with a total value of USD39 billion, a significant increase from 2020, when nine transactions completed. 2022 has already seen the closing of eight transactions worth USD19 billion, with 52 live projects currently at different stages. Vision 2030 is creating an estimated funding gap of SAR924 billion, and the government is seeking private investment to make up the shortfall. To achieve its goals and encourage private-sector involvement in Saudi infrastructure, the government has established institutions such as the National Center for Privatization (NCP) and the Renewable Energy Project.

What makes Rakiza the partner of choice? What are the fund’s competitive strengths and advantages?
Muneer Al Muneeri: Rakiza is a joint venture managed by Oman Infrastructure Investment Management (OIM) and Equitix. The joint venture combines two key value drivers: OIM’s local/regional market knowledge and network, and Equitix’s track record in developed markets (like UK and Europe). OIM has unique access to infrastructure deal flow in Oman and the region, with similar advantages in KSA. Established as an independently managed infrastructure specialist in 2019 by Oman’s sovereign wealth fund, the Oman Investment Authority (“OIA”), OIM has identified a pipeline of potential investments for the Fund valued at over USD 5 billion. OIM’s key strategic partnerships will allow it to identify attractive investments in both core and core plus infrastructure sectors. Equitix group was founded in February 2007 and operates as a specialized infrastructure investor, developer, and fund manager. Equitix has raised over GBP 10.5 billion of equity across more than 300 core infrastructure projects. It has consistently deployed capital in the lower-mid core infrastructure market with an overarching objective of delivering steady cash yield and capital protection to its diversified, institutional investor base. The Fund is led by seasoned investment professionals with close to 150 years of collective infrastructure investment experience among them.

How do you see the role of Rakiza Fund in promoting sustainable business development in Saudi Arabia?
Muneer Al Muneeri: All investment opportunities whether in Oman or Saudi Arabia undergo a rigorous ESG screening process, through Rakiza’s Responsible Investment Policy. As assets are acquired, we set out an action plan to integrate ESG best practice into enhancing the asset’s performance. As core infrastructure player, Rakiza also explores opportunities in the renewables sector, supporting the transition towards sustainable clean energy.

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