Abraaj hires KPMG to look into healthcare fund after reported row with investors

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group has hired global auditing firm KPMG to look into the finances of its healthcare fund after a reported dispute with some its investors in the fund.

“We are confident that the exercise being conducted by KPMG will confirm that all the funds were accounted for and used appropriately,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources, that four investors in a $1 billion healthcare fund managed by Abraaj had hired a forensic accountant to examine what happened to some of their money.

They wanted to know why some of their money had not yet been used for the stated purpose of building hospitals and clinics, it reported. The New York Times also reported the dispute.

The investors included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank’s International Finance Corp unit, and two other investors, who pledged about a quarter of the fund’s money.

There was no immediate response from the Gates Foundation outside its regular office hours. IFC also did not respond to a Reuters query.

Abraaj manages $13.6 billion and invests across growth markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Turkey.

In Sunday’s statement, the Dubai-based firm said recent media reports on the Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund (AGHF) were “inaccurate and misleading.”

In 18 months, the healthcare fund has served almost 2 million people through 24 hospitals, 30 diagnostic centers and 17 clinics, it said.

“All capital that was drawn from AGHF investors was for approved Fund investments. Some capital was not used as quickly as anticipated due to unforeseen political and regulatory developments in several of the Fund’s operating markets.”

These delays were regularly communicated to investors through quarterly General Partner reports and other investor communications, Abraaj said.

“Abraaj takes its relationship with its Limited Partners, shareholders and other stakeholders very seriously,” it said.

“As such, Abraaj has engaged KPMG to verify all receipts and payments made by the Fund in accordance with the International Standard on Related Services applicable to agreed-upon procedures engagements,” it said.

The Abraaj Group said early in last 2017 it had deployed over $1.2 billion globally in 29 investments across the healthcare sector in growth markets.

Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Toby Chopra

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