Qalaa Holdings was founded in 2004 by two entrepreneurs as Citadel Capital, a private equity firm with EGP 2 million in capital. By 2012, the company became the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa with 19 Opportunity-Specific Funds controlling platform companies with investments of USD 9.5 billion. Investments spanned 15 countries and 15 industries including energy distribution, solid waste management, agrifoods, cement, refining, transportation and glass manufacturing.
Between 2004 and 2012, Qalaa Holdings completed a total of 54 acquisitions and new company formations, pursuing control investments across the deal-type spectrum, including turnarounds, buyouts, consolidations / industry roll-ups and greenfields. The company’s approach was to raise equity via Opportunity-Specific Funds that would in turn control a subsidiary company in a specific industry; the company also successfully created two standard institutional funds — the MENA and Africa Joint Investment Funds — its first standard institutional funds. From its first investment, the company’s business model was to pursue an incremental approach, allowing it to nurture and build its investments through challenging economic climates, helping good companies become great; domestic leaders become regional powerhouses.
In 2013, Qalaa rebranded into Qalaa Holdings, and transformed its business model from private equity to investment holding, with a narrower focus on strategic industries like energy and infrastructure that can create thousands of jobs that will define our region’s future.
Since inception, Qalaa Holdings has built a stellar reputation and established a long track record as a trusted partner-of-choice for sophisticated international LPs. These partnerships have played an instrumental role in securing funding for large megaprojects like the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), the largest private sector-led infrastructure megaproject in Africa. Thanks to a deep network of international investors, banks, and guarantors, such as development finance institutions (DFIs), export credit agencies (ECAs) from Europe, Asia and North America, as well as sovereign wealth funds from the Gulf, Qalaa has been able to successfully access and raise equity despite periods of volatility.
Qalaa follows a sustainable responsible investing approach that is governed by “The Triple Bottom Line,” meaning it prioritizes positive social impact and human capital development alongside financial performance. It became a founding member of the UN Global Compact Network in Egypt in recognition of its leadership position and commitment to conducting and promoting sustainable business in the country’s private sector. Qalaa has thus aligned its ESG practices with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, choosing six key goals on which to focus both its investment theses and sustainability initiatives: quality education; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry innovation and infrastructure, responsible consumption and production, and partnerships for the goals.