GFH eyes deals like Roebuck

 Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group is looking at asset manager acquisitions similar to the Roebuck deal last year, the Sharia-compliant investment firm’s chief executive Hisham Alrayes has said.

GFH announced last December it had acquired a majority stake in Roebuck Asset Management, a UK and European logistics and business space focused real estate asset manager, which has managed assets with a total investment value exceeding $1.9 billion.

The firm had said this acquisition would add significant expertise in European commercial real estate to the group and give it strategic access to prime deal flow, enabling expansion of investment activities in the UK and Europe.

“GFH has always been looking for opportunistic ideas within the region and across the globe. Roebuck was one of the asset managers we had acquired last year. We’re looking at similar asset manager acquisitions during this year,” Mr Alrayes told shareholders during a webcast on Q3-2021 financial results. The transcript of the webcast was uploaded to the Bahrain Bourse website, where GFH shares are traded.

Commenting on the upcoming business outlook, Mr Alrayes said: “GFH has entered the fourth quarter with strong momentum and a pipeline of opportunities to enable us to achieve further growth and profitability for the remainder of the year and beyond. We look forward to announcing further strategic transactions and new partnerships.”

The official said key sectors of focus for the firm include logistics, technology and education.

The CEO also said he expected investor sentiment to be bullish going forward, “given that we have passed the pandemic era and the world is opening up” and that there was a lot of liquidity available in the market.

In response to a question about the timeline of the acquisition of its commercial banking subsidiary, Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), the chief executive said it was in process and the firm was expecting to complete it by Q4 this year or by Q1 of 2022 – depending on market conditions.

“As you’re aware, we got the approval to go ahead with the acquisition of KHCB, and as a part of the process we’re also acquiring treasury shares which will be used for the transaction. In terms of how the accounting will be done for minority interests, the balance stake that will remain as of end of 2021 will be accounted for as minority interests in our books,” Mr Alrayes added.

GFH is seeking to acquire the entire public shareholding of, not currently owned by it, representing up to 21.03 per cent stake of the Islamic retail bank’s issued and paid-up share capital. The consideration for the offer is shares in GFH, at a share exchange ratio of 0.914 GFH shares per KHCB share.




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