As Chief Financial Officer of Investcorp, Rishi Kapoor has a rich perspective on the investment industry in the Middle East. Based in Bahrain—with additional offices in London, New York, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi—the firm is a provider and manager of alternative investment products, and Kapoor has held a number of progressive responsibilities there over the last 20 years. The founder and CEO of Investcorp is set to retire in 2015 and Kapoor will then assume the role of co-CEO.
Kapoor graduated from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Global Executive MBA program in 2001 and currently serves on the school’s regional advisory board for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). He shared his industry and regional insights in a Fuqua Q&A.
Q) Investcorp’s current portfolio includes companies in North America, Europe and MENA. Are there fundamental differences in how you target investments in each of these regions?
Yes, there are fundamental differences in the types of investments we look to target in these regions.
In the US, we prefer control investments in mid-market companies, particularly in the services or consumption-driven sectors, since a large component of America’s economic growth is anchored by domestic consumption.
In Europe, we also target control investments in mid-market companies, except here we prefer companies that are export-driven, in particular catering to some of the global growth markets in Asia or Latin America etc., as opposed to relying on domestic European consumption.
In MENA, the target universe is very different. We acquire minority stakes in opportunities sourced from family businesses, divestitures of non-core corporate assets and corporates seeking growth capital. Our core investment thesis is that the economic transformation in the MENA region (including Turkey) and the evolution of the family business model has created opportunities to establish higher-value, larger-scale businesses that require complex and sophisticated processes, and enhanced management capabilities.