By Cynthia Johnston
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital plans to invest $200 million to $400 million in 2010 and is looking for more opportunities in the rest of Africa, the firm's managing director said on Tuesday.
Marwan Elaraby also said Citadel had slightly adjusted its investment strategy due to market uncertainty and liquidity considerations, and that for now the firm would probably focus on more gradual investments.
"I would imagine we are probably going to be deploying something in the region of maybe $200 to $400 million in the next calendar year, the 2010 calendar year," Elaraby told Reuters on the sidelines of an economic conference in Cairo.
"2009 probably was a slower year ... I think what we did a lot more of in the last year has been not investing in new companies, but making sure our companies were well capitalised and able to weather the storm," he added.
He did not say how much his firm would invest by the end of 2009.
Citadel, which also announced on Tuesday that it was investing in 500,000 feddans (210,000 hectares) of farmland in Sudan, was also looking further south to potential investments elsewhere in Africa.
"One of the new areas we are looking at, which is actually quite interesting, has been a little further into Africa, looking at Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and some of these other economies," he said.
"We believe that commodities will have a very nice run going forward, partly because of the liquidity that has been created by central bankers worldwide. Therefore we are a big believer in both soft commodities on the agricultural side but also more traditional commodities like metals and oil."
Citadel has said previously that it saw opportunities for agricultural and mining investments in eastern Africa, as well as opportunities for retail and real estate investments in northern Africa.
Citadel's move into Sudan follows an initiative announced in August by another Egyptian firm, Beltone Private Equity, to invest up to $1 billion in agricultural projects in a venture with Sudan's Kenana Sugar Company.
Elaraby said Citadel was also looking at an environmental services industry business "that we would expect to close on quite soon", but did not name the business or say where it was located.Citadel raises money on a transaction-by-transaction basis rather than having a fund to draw on for any deal, as is typical with U.S. buyout firms. It structures itself by having a series of "platform" companies specific to one industry which control its portfolio investments.