Bahrain’s GFH begins trading on ADX after shares listing

Move expected to expand company's investor base as Abu Dhabi continues to attract new investors amid new IPOs

GFH shares began trading on the Abu Dhabi stock market on Tuesday under the symbol ‘GFH’. Photo: ADX
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Bahrain investment bank GFH Financial Group has started trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) after the listing of its shares on the stock market.

The company’s shares began trading on Tuesday under the symbol ‘GFH’ and represent the fourth listing for the group in the region, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange said in a statement.

The investment bank is currently listed in Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait.

The GFH listing brings the number of dual listings on the ADX to four. Shares of Qatar's telecom company Ooredoo, Sudan Telecom Group and Oman and Emirates Investment Holding Company also have secondary listings on the exchange.

ADX is the second-biggest exchange in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia's Tadawul. The exchange, which is owned by state holding company ADQ, said last year it plans to double its market capitalisation over the next three years through its new ‘ADX One’ strategy that aims to increase market liquidity and improve market efficiency.

Saeed Al Dhaheri, managing director and chief executive of ADX, said: “As part of our ADX One strategy to promote greater market liquidity, we have been actively encouraging listings on our … capital market and forging deeper ties with regional markets, including the Bahrain Bourse.”

“The pipeline for IPOs and listings on our main market and growth market remains strong for the remainder of the year, a testament to our strength and resilience amid global market volatility."

The number of listings on the ADX continued to grow amid improving investor appetite as the UAE's economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic on the back of higher oil prices and government measures.

Borouge, the joint venture between Adnoc and Austrian chemicals producer Borealis, is the latest company preparing to list its shares on the ADX.

The company raised $2bn by selling about three billion shares to the public, it said on Tuesday.

Other companies such as Abu Dhabi Ports, Yahsat, Adnoc Drilling and Fertiglobe also listed their shares on the Abu Dhabi stock market.

The bourse could host 13 more listings before the end of this year as it seeks to hit a market value of Dh3 trillion ($816.7bn), ADX chairman Mohammed Al Shorafa told Sky News Arabia in March.

GFH has more than $15bn of assets and funds under management including a global portfolio of investments in logistics, health care, education and technology in the Mena region, Europe and North America.

The company reported an 18.5 per cent jump in its first-quarter net profit to $19.11 million as impairment allowances fell and investment banking income rose amid the global economic recovery.

GFH this year formed new subsidiary Infracorp by spinning off some of its infrastructure and property to focus more on financial assets.

The investment bank this month acquired a majority stake in SQ Asset Management, which has headquarters in Atlanta, as it continues to boost the size of its portfolio globally.

The listing is “a strategic move supporting our expansion and enhancing our financial position and funding for the next phase of growth”, said Hisham Alrayes, GFH’s group chief executive.

The value of shares traded on the ADX surged 87 per cent to Dh202bn in the first quarter amid higher participation from investors as listings continued to increase, the bourse said. The market value of shares owned by foreign investors, meanwhile, jumped 163 per cent to Dh131bn during the period.

Updated: May 31, 2022, 2:06 PM