The Abraaj Group Ltd., a buyout firm focused on emerging markets, is raising a $500 million fund to invest in Turkey, two people with knowledge of the matter said. (For more coverage on Abraaj and M&A in Turkey, see 10 Emerging Markets to Watch - Turkey.)

Abraaj, which has about $7.5 billion in global assets under management, according to its website, plans to reach its fundraising target by the end of the year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The private-equity firm is already talking to potential acquisition targets in Turkey, one of the people said.

Private-equity investors including Carlyle Group LP, BC Partners Ltd. and KKR & Co. LP are seeking to benefit from economic growth in Turkey that’s exceeded an annual average of five percent during Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decade-long rule as prime minister.

In recent days, the country’s leaders have been under pressure from the U.S. and its allies to join the fight against Islamic State, which has seized swaths of Syrian land along the Turkish border and threatened export markets in the region.

KKR agreed to sell its Turkish ferry business to local private-equity firms Esas Holding AS and Actera Partners LP last month for about 700 million euros ($895 million), a person with knowledge of the deal told Bloomberg News at the time.

Abraaj, based in Dubai, bought Turkish dairy producer Yorsan Gida Mamulleri AS last year for an undisclosed sum. The private-equity firm, the largest in the Middle East, sold its stake in Turkey’s largest hospital chain, Acibadem, to a unit of Malaysian state firm Khazanah Nasional for an enterprise value of over $2 billion in 2012.

Abraaj declined to comment on the fundraising plan.

 

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