Spain's Alantra expands investment banking business in Middle East with new DIFC office

The company offers consultancy on mergers and acquisitions, debt advisory, financial restructuring and capital market transactions

The DIFC Gate building. Financial services firm Alantra is the latest to join DIFC's ecosystem. Photo: DIFC
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Alantra, a Spanish financial services firm, is expanding its investment banking services in the region with a new office in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The company has obtained authorisation from the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of DIFC, to conduct financial services within and from the DIFC.

“DIFC was a natural choice for Alantra when we decided to set up our investment banking activities in the Middle East, given Dubai's strategic location, top-notch infrastructure, and availability of specialised talent,” said Saad Ashraf, senior executive officer and managing partner of Alantra DIFC.

“We have also domiciled and relocated a significant part of our global marine and shipping investment banking sector team to DIFC in light of the region’s strong relevance for this growing sector."

Alantra, which employs more than 650 professionals across 25 offices in 22 countries, said it initiated its coverage of the Middle East in 2021 mainly focusing on the maritime and offshore sector. Thus far, it has executed approximately 20 deals worth over $1 billion in the region.

Alantra’s investment banking division provides independent advice on mergers and acquisitions, debt advisory, financial restructuring, and capital markets transactions. Over the past four years, it has advised on more than 650 deals for a total value of around €88.5 billion ($96.8 billion), the company said in a statement.

The DIFC has grown at a robust pace in the first half of the year.

Nearly 661 companies joined the DIFC ecosystem in the January-June period, a 23 per cent increase from the same period last year, underscoring the emirate’s global reputation.

The total number of registered companies rose to 4,949 during the first six months of the year, from 4,031 in the same period last year.

The growth in the number of registered companies led to the creation of a record 3,057 jobs, increasing the total workforce in DIFC by 20 per cent year-on-year to 39,140, DIFC said in an statement earlier.

“Capitalising on our time zone advantage, supportive regulatory environment, and unparalleled access to top-tier talent, financial institutions like Alantra gain a significant competitive advantage in serving their clients and tapping into growth opportunities across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region,” said Salmaan Jaffery, chief business development officer of DIFC Authority.

The DIFC leased more than 233,000 square feet of owned and managed commercial space, underscoring high demand for commercial space in the first six months of the year. Occupancy rates stood at 99 per cent.

Among the firms joining DIFC in 2023 were Asia Research and Capital Management, Edmond de Rothschild, EnTrust Global, Hudson Bay Capital, King Street Capital, Nomura Singapore, St James’s Place and Verition Fund Management.

Updated: August 30, 2023, 3:10 PM