Bahrain's GFH eyes Saudi asset management moves

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Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group is considering a listing in Saudi Arabia and is also in talks to acquire a Gulf financial services company which has a presence in the kingdom, according to its chief executive

GFH is also keen to participate in Saudi Arabia’s privatisation programme in sectors such as education and healthcare, chief executive Hisham al-Rayes told Reuters, in a phone interview published by the news organisation’s Middle East outlet earlier this week.

“We are looking at asset management and private equity sector as sectors we would like to acquire,” al-Rayes told Reuters.

GFH’s plans to list in Saudi Arabia comes alongside a series of Saudi market reforms that will allow listings by companies from other countries. Saudi officials said that these listings will begin next year.

“We already have some Saudi shareholders, but being cross-listed will add a lot of enrichment to our shareholder base… (and) will support our growth plan in Saudi Arabia,” al-Rayes said in his phone interview, adding that cross-listing will not include any capital raising and that it would be premature to give a definitive timeline for the listing.

Al-Rayes also disclosed that GFH is “in talks” with an unnamed financial services company in the Gulf, which also has operations in Saudi Arabia.

GFH, has previously been looking at Gulf-based financial services companies and said in June that it had postponed talks to acquire Dubai-based Shuaa Capital, due to a failure to reach acquisition terms and a lack of initial regulatory approval, the Reuters report added.

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