Bahrain’s GFH third-quarter profit rises on global investments and funds

Company currently focused on investing in Gulf markets, especially Saudi Arabia and UAE

A general view shows the Bahraini capital, Manama, on February 10, 2016. - Five years after the popular uprising was harshly repressed, the Kingdom of Bahrain is locked in a political stalemate coupled with an economic crisis that underline the urgency of a compromise between the rulers and the opposition, according to experts. (Photo by MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY TAIEB MAHJOUB
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GFH Financial Group, an investment bank based in Bahrain, reported a 3.3 per cent rise in its third-quarter profit helped by higher income from global investments and funds, as the company continues to boost its portfolio.

Net profit attributable to the shareholders of the bank for the quarter that ended on September 30 climbed to $24.06 million from the same period a year earlier, said the company.

It attributed the rise to “income generated from the placement of the group’s global investments and ongoing improvements in its commercial banking business”.

Investment banking income increased 23 per cent to about $29m in the third-quarter, while commercial banking income increased around 29 per cent to $22m.

“Supporting ongoing progress during the quarter was solid performance by each of the group’s core business lines. Further diversification also continues to play an important role in enabling GFH to deliver sound results despite global market volatility,” chairman Ghazi Al Hajeri said on Wednesday.

Listed on the Bahrain Bourse, Dubai Financial Market and Boursa Kuwait, GFH manages over $16.35 billion of assets and funds including a global portfolio of investments in logistics, healthcare, education and technology in the Mena region, Europe and North America.

Last month, GFH acquired a portfolio of medical clinics in the US in a deal valued at $400m, expanding its real estate portfolio in the world's largest economy.

The income-yielding medical clinics portfolio consists of 11 assets with more than 92,000 square metres of space spread across California, Texas, Maryland and Louisiana.

In the first nine months of the year, GFH's net profit rose 9.8 per cent to $66.24m, supported by “increased” placement of deals in the investment banking business as well as sales from Infracorp’s Harbour Row unit.

The $145m Harbour Row is a waterfront project within Bahrain Financial Harbour comprising residential units and retail.

Earlier this year, GFH formed Infracorp by spinning off its infrastructure and property assets to focus more on financial assets.

The new subsidiary manages an asset portfolio worth about $3 billion, which includes land in the Gulf, North Africa and South Asia.

In July, Roebuck Asset Management, a UK-based unit of GFH, and ICG Real Estate formed a joint venture to buy logistics assets in Spain.

The joint venture with ICG, the real estate arm of London-listed Intermediate Capital Group, will target €400m ($401m) “index-linked long income assets” through direct sale and leaseback opportunities or secondary acquisitions over the next 18 months.

Demand for logistics assets such as warehouses continues to rise because of an increase in e-commerce activity after the coronavirus pandemic.

“Currently, we are focused on investing in the Gulf markets, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, due to their steady growth and in light of greater government spending on projects as a result of increased income and foreign investments,” Hisham Alrayes, chief executive of GFH, said on Wednesday.

As of September 30, the total assets of the group stood at $9bn, compared to $8.08bn at the end of 2021.

Updated: November 10, 2022, 5:43 AM