National Air Services(NAS)
The fund felt that there was a unique opportunity in the growing regional aviation sector. In April 2006, Abraaj acquired approximately 33 percent (with management control) of a company based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia─National Air Services (NAS)─from Saudi Prince Khalid bin Sultan for $250 million; $75 million came from its buyout fund and $175 million from co-investors (see Exhibit 9 for the details of the deal).
Jonathan Hall, Abraaj executive director, helped lead the NAS investment and commented:
We saw the NAS deal as a unique opportunity to access an otherwise closed sector in Saudi Arabia, the largest regional economy, with a highly influential shareholder base. This coupled with a growing demand for air travel and the liberalization of the Saudi aviation market meant a potential to grow a profitable airline business in the region.
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