Investcorp plans to list more of its companies

The company is bullish about growth opportunities in the Gulf and in China, chairman says

Investcorp's executive chairman Mohammed Alardhi speaking at the Abu Dhabi Finance week on Tuesday. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Investcorp, the Bahrain-based asset manager that counts Mubadala Investment Company as its biggest shareholder, plans to list more of its companies on regional and international stock markets to boost growth, its executive chairman said.

“We continue to look at the opportunities and we have many companies,” Mohammed Alardhi told the Abu Dhabi Finance Week on Tuesday.

“We just listed on the Indonesian stock exchange, a company called Mothercare [Mothercare Indonesia] and there are a few that we are looking to do in the region and outside.”

Investcorp was founded in 1982 and has grown to become one of the leading alternative asset management companies in the region.

It oversees $50 billion in assets, including those managed by third parties, and has 14 offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, including India, China, Japan and Singapore.

This month, it listed its subsidiary Investcorp Capital, which offers capital financing services in the alternative investments space, on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange after it raised Dh1.66 billion ($451 million) by selling 720 million ordinary shares or 32.85 per of its total issued share capital.

The initial public offering gave the company a market capitalisation of about Dh5.04 billion.

Investcorp, which continues to boost investments in different sectors, is bullish about growth opportunities in the GCC region and in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

It aims to invest in infrastructure, private equity and public markets in the Gulf as economies continue to rebound strongly from the coronavirus pandemic on the back of economic reforms and higher oil prices.

“When you look at all emerging markets, it [the Gulf region] really scores very high,” Mr Alardhi said.

“It's a region that's investing in itself … that's investing in the future whether it was in medicine or renewable energy, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the numbers of growth that's happening in GDP [gross domestic product] is amazing.”

The economic growth momentum in the Gulf is set to pick up pace in the next two years as the countries continue with their diversification efforts, according to a recent World Bank report.

The region is forecast to grow by 1 per cent in 2023 before rebounding to 3.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Saudi Arabia’s economy grew by 8.7 per cent last year, the highest annual growth rate among the world's 20 biggest economies, driven by a rise in oil prices and the strong performance of its non-oil private sector.

The UAE economy is expected to grow 3.4 per cent in 2023 with non-oil GDP at 4.5 per cent, backed by a strong performance in tourism, real estate, construction, transport, manufacturing and a surge in capital expenditure, the World Bank said last week.

Investcorp also aims to boost its investments in China, despite sluggish growth expectations in the world’s second most populous country.

“I think China is going through times where you know, the growth has been slow. The recovery from the pandemic has not been as good, but long term I think China is a great market for us,” Mr Alardhi said.

The company is investing in technology, food business and the consumer sectors in the country, he added.

It is also focused on making investments in certain real estate segments globally including logistics, multifamily residential buildings and student housing, while “getting out of some sub-segments of real estate that we thought would be hard hit in pricing including retail and offices", Mr Alardhi said.

“Those sectors [logistics, multifamily residential buildings] have really, I think, stood the test of time during Covid. They obviously went into some stress, but they are really some of the best sub-sectors that you can invest in.”

Earlier this year, Investcorp bought 31 industrial warehouses in the US worth $216 million to boost its portfolio in the world’s largest economy.

The company’s long-term target is to boost its assets under management to $100 billion and it will continue to focus on achieving that goal, Mr Alardhi added.

Updated: November 28, 2023, 2:27 PM