Bahrain's GFH to cross list shares on ADX in May

The listing, which will be the investment bank's fourth in the region, is expected to further improve liquidity in its shares

M5M0KT Skyline of Manama dominated by the World Trade Center Building. Bahrain

Bahrain-based investment bank GFH Financial Group plans to cross list its shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in May, making it the company's fourth regional listing after Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait bourses.

The move is expected to further improve liquidity in GFH’s shares and allow the group to gain access to a broader base of retail and institutional investors on the ADX, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

"With this listing, we will be better positioned to serve our existing shareholders in the UAE and Abu Dhabi and to attract new ones from among ADX’s sizable retail and institutional investor base," Hisham Alrayes, chief executive of GFH, said.

GFH has an investment portfolio that spans the Middle East, the US, UK and Asia in a number of sectors, including health care, education and logistics.

The planned listing on the ADX next month is subject to final regulatory approvals, GFH said.

"We are set to become the first issuer to be listed on four main GCC stock exchanges and our aim is to continue to enhance the liquidity of our shares, our investor mix and to ensure the highest levels of disclosure and transparency for the benefit of shareholders," Mr Alrayes said.

"In line with our strategy, we also look forward to achieving a more entrenched presence in Abu Dhabi, tapping into growth both on ADX and in the local economy."

Current shareholders of the group will be able to transfer shares from existing markets where they hold shares to ADX, the company said.

The ADX could host 13 more listings before the end of this year as the Arab world's second-largest stock market seeks to reach a market value of Dh3 trillion ($816.7 billion), Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of ADX, told Sky News Arabia in March.

The new listings will include four companies from outside the UAE, while others will be government and family companies, he said.

The ADX, which is owned by state holding company ADQ, more than doubled its market capitalisation last year to a record Dh1.6 trillion – making it one of the best performing exchanges globally in 2021.

Earlier this month, GFH also received approval from its shareholders to cross list its shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange.

GFH reported an 87 per cent surge in its 2021 profit to $84.22 million, reflecting “stronger contributions throughout the year from all business lines including investment banking, commercial banking, real estate and treasury activities".

Group assets grew almost 23 per cent to $8.08bn at the end of last year.

GFH also closed more than $1bn worth of new investments across the region in the international logistics, health care and education sectors in 2021.

Updated: April 24, 2022, 1:26 PM