Dubai-based Samena Capital is set to purchase a significant stake in Kleinwort Benson’s U.K.-based private bank unit. The deal accounts for approximately 31 percent of the bank, and should be completed by the third quarter of this year. Neither party announced the value of the deal.

Samena Capital is a Dubai-based investment group that specializes in private equity and credit within India, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. “The acquisition is done through a mix of primary market and secondary market purchase of shares in Kleinwort Benson Bank. At the close of the deal Samena Capital will have close to 40 per cent of the diluted equity of KBB,” said Shirish Saraf, vice-chairman of Samena Capital. Over the next three years Samena has the option to purchase up to 39.9 percent of the bank.

Samena aim to open a substantial merchant banking operation in Dubai following the Kleinwort Benson acquisition, and the company views the deal to be the first step in creating such a business. Using Kleinwort Benson’s name, Samena hopes to create a regional hub to further explore opportunities from Dubai into North Africa and beyond and to form a third pillar to compliment Samena’s credit and private equity businesses. “Our firmly-held view is that opportunity lies in the closer integration of established and developing markets and the ability to introduce clients to high-caliber, differentiated investments that are not available from more commoditized providers,” said Leonhard Fischer, CEO of BHF Kleinwort Benson Group.

Kleinwort Benson Bank offers private banking and corporate advisory services the world over. At the end of the last financial year, the bank held $5.2 billion of assets. Samena oversees a portfolio estimated to be worth approximately $750 million.