GFH third quarter profit climbs 23.3% on investment banking activities

The Manama-based firm reported a $103.4m net income for the first nine months of the year

Bahrain-based GFH acquired 12 US hotels in a joint venture deal as the company continues to expand in the country. Reuters
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GFH Financial Group, the Bahrain-based Sharia-compliant investment firm, said third quarter net income surged 23.3 per cent, boosted by its investment banking business.

Net profit attributable to shareholders in the three months to the end of September reached $30.9 million (Dh113.4m), GFH said in a statement on Monday. Its consolidated income for the third quarter also jumped 22.5 per cent to $31.26m.

The investment bank also reported a $103.4m net income for the first nine months of the year, a 19 per cent rise from a year earlier, it said. The company attributed the rise in part to strong contributions from investment activities.

“Significant improvements for the first nine months of the year can be attributed to growing contributions from the Group’s investment banking activities, which forms the core of our business and focus as we go forward,” Jassim Alseddiqi, Chairman of GFH Financial Group, said. “With this sustained momentum and progress, we expect to make even further gains by year end.”

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Equity attributable to shareholders came in at $1.09 billion for the first nine months of the year, dropping from $1.13bn at the end of the same period in 2017. The total assets of the group, however, increased 11 per cent to $4.43bn for the period.

In October, the Manama-headquartered firm received "conditional approval" from the central bank on an offer to sell its real estate portfolio for $1bn. It expects to receive an upfront payment ranging from $259m to $380m, with the remainder based on a joint development agreement over five years, the company said in a statement at the time. GFH is seeking regulatory approval to list its shares on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul benchmark gauge in addition to its shares trading in Bahrain, Kuwait and Dubai.

In May, the company acquired 85 per cent of UAE-based retail app, The Entertainer, through a deal which gives GFH about 5 to 10 per cent control. GFH will invest up to $150m in The Entertainer throughout the holding period.