Promoting an investment philosophy

Capital Guidance seeks out promising businesses that can be made more successful through capital funding and improved management.

As a company with Syrian origins, their directors are discrete about their operations yet open about their intentions. I had to be aware of this at all times.

Click here to read the textCAPITAL GUIDANCE Strategic investors in developing businessesCAPITAL GUIDANCE is a privately-owned international investment company.During the past 40 years, we have built up significant interests in North America and the Middle East. Our activities are spread across two main areas: long-term strategic investments in carefully selected operating businesses, and the management of an extensive portfolio of financial investments. In selecting operational businesses, we look for those run by outstanding management teams with whom we can achieve tangible success over the long run. Our current areas of operation include retail real estate and commercial distribution. In managing our financial investments, we work with a number of world-class portfolio managers and private equity partnerships. We are committed to the continuing, long-term development of our existing core businesses, and to the selective identification of new opportunities for investment and growth. An international business operationCapital Guidance manages a number of core activities in specific North American and Middle East markets where we have exceptional local knowledge and extensive commercial experience. While each of our operating companies is autonomous, each is run by managers who subscribe to a common philosophy. Working in a collegiate atmosphere, we aim to achieve the highest levels of professional efficiency and commercial success within a framework of integrity and fairness. A long term viewWhile we are always alert to opportunities, our principal objective is to invest in businesses identified for the positive contribution they will make to our group over many years.In this respect, ours is a long term commitment. Our style is to invest not just for immediate returns, but to create lasting value through the development and growth of our businesses over time. A focus on successWhen we take a controlling interest in a business, we also take an active part in its operation.Our objective in every case is to support and develop the existing management structure, to introduce new ideas – and, where appropriate, new people – and to carry the business forward. This progressive approach, allied to high levels of professionalism, has been at the heart of all our successful business enterprises. It also underpins our thinking as we assess new opportunities for future development. Thriving businesses in a variety of marketsWe have developed a variety of business activities over the years, including a number of direct investments and joint ventures in the real estate sector. Several of these businesses continue to contribute to our Group’s success. Madison Marquette Since its foundation in 1992, Madison Marquette has become one of the leading retail real estate development, management and investment companies in the United States. With a development and investment portfolio of over 20 properties valued in excess of $1 billion, Madison Marquette focuses on establishing imaginative alternatives to traditional shopping environments. Our mission is to create special places, with each development’s concept and architectural style inspired by the market it serves. Madison Marquette’s services division offers integrated retail real estate management services – including property management, marketing, construction, development, consulting and leasing – to landlords and retailers alike. In every case, these skills are configured to maximise our clients’ and investors’ returns. We currently manage over 23 million square feet in more than 130 properties for institutional clients operating in 20 states. Other Madison Marquette retail advisory services are focused on tenant representation. These are offered either directly or in partnership with the principals of Madison Retail Group in Washington DC or Madison HGCD in New York. Madison Marquette now has ten offices across the United States and employs over 500 people. As the company has grown, it has developed a powerful network which enables it to add value to its clients’ and investors’ interests through unique combinations of tenants and uses. Tile Network Tile Network – whose growth is based on the success of Master Tile, its first major cluster operation – is the largest independent wholesale ceramic tile distributor in the United States. It is also one of the country’s leading pool tile distributors. In 1992, Master Tile had a single location in Houston, Texas. At the midpoint of 2002, the company employed over 250 people, had sales in excess of $80 million annually and operated through 22 branches serving the whole of Texas and Oklahoma, with plans for further expansion across the southern United States. Building on the Master Tile experience, Tile Network is developing a series of new cluster businesses run by highly qualified industry professionals supported by centralized sales, purchasing and logistics facilities serving niche markets in key states. With our clear understanding of family-run operations, we are well placed to acquire further businesses in this sector and thus create new clusters. Our objective is to achieve a dominant position in the national market through the development of a further four to six clusters. Sara Founded in 1967 and managed by us since then, Sara’s hallmark is excellence. Recognised as the Middle East’s leading distributor of tiles, luxury bathroom suites, finely engineered plumbing fittings and high quality tableware, our products and services are second to none in their field. The manufacturers we work with include names such as Villeroy & Boch, Grohe and Gardenia Orchidea, with whom we have developed several strong and enduring commercial relationships. We also supply specialist products to the hotel and catering industries, and offer design advice to architects, industry professionals and customers through virtual imaging programmes and links to suppliers’ web sites. With over 30 showrooms, seven state-of-the-art warehouses and a team of 250 dedicated professionals, Sara currently serves a wide range of customers in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon and Syria, and plans to expand into other countries in the region. In addition to its distribution services, Sara is also engaged in the promotion and marketing of sanitary ware and plumbing products throughout the Middle East, Africa and South West Asia. Reda Servicing the rapidly growing chemical and manufacturing industries of the Middle-East, Reda is the region's leading distributor of chemicals, safety equipment and other specialised industrial products. Today, with close to 100 people working in 12 offices and six warehouses, Reda has over 1,000 clients in the markets of the Arabian Gulf – including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait – as well as in the Levant and North Africa. Reda began by supplying fire fighting equipment to Saudi Arabia's petroleum industry over 20 years ago. We now serve the entire petrochemical sector and other industrial markets with a range of fire protection and safety equipment and systems. Our chemical division provides a variety of clients with a wide range of specialty and industrial chemicals such as additives, catalysts, pigments, solvents and industrial chemicals. With more than 40 experienced sales engineers and a long-term partnership approach to suppliers and clients alike, Reda is a leading distributor for major global producers such as Bayer, Chevron, Phillips, Vacker Chemie, Celanese, Tyco and others. Reda also offers its clients single-sourcing, vendor-managed inventory and material-handling expertise for hazardous or bulk liquids, as well as other supply chain services. Financial Investments Alongside our operating businesses, a large proportion of our funds are invested in the public and private financial markets. This continuing activity allows us to diversify our portfolio’s exposure and provide solid reserves for our operating businesses. It also enables us to strengthen the working relationships we have with many of the world’s leading financial institutions and private equity groups. As with our businesses, we take a long-term view of financial investments. Working with world-class managers, we maintain a broadly diversified portfolio which seeks to consistently produce above average returns while keeping risk under control. Our marketable securities portfolios concentrate on management methodologies which have a proven ability to add value. As early investors in the institutional private equity arena, we have committed to more than forty private equity partnerships in the last twenty years. Our current private equity investment program seeks to maintain a steady stream of new commitments which will result in a diversified exposure to buy-out and venture investments in the US, Europe and East Asia. Our objective is to achieve superior returns by developing relationships with a number of select private equity groups offering value-added expertise. New business development Capital Guidance plays a direct role in the management of all the Group’s activities. Their present success is our current reward. Their future development is our continuing objective. While our constant aim is to improve and grow our existing businesses, we are also actively seeking new ventures in sectors where we can capitalise on our financial strengths, exploit our business experience and employ our technical knowledge in ways which profit both ourselves and our new partners. Our current focus is on the provision of niche market financial services through Guidance Financial Group, and the expansion of our business activities in Europe and the Middle East. Ours is an ambitious development programme. Yet, as a successful, well-organised company, we know we have the key disciplines required to evaluate opportunities carefully, make sound decisions swiftly and conclude transactions efficiently. Successful management based on teamworkCapital Guidance is organised for growth and success. While our overall governance and direction is determined by our Board of Directors, decisions are made at a Group operational level by a committee of Managing Directors. Each core business is led by a Chief Executive Officer. In each case, the core business management function is actively supported by one or more of the Capital Guidance Managing Directors and corporate level executives. This structure encourages high levels of teamwork across the whole Group. We also take a keen interest in the personal and professional welfare of our staff, who are given real opportunities to share in the rewards of our success. We believe this combination offers both challenging and satisfying opportunities for those who share our ideals and objectives.