Bahrain's GFH eyes stake buys, tech fund launch

DUBAI, Sept 4 Tue Sep 4, 2012 11:56am IST

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DUBAI, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) is looking to acquire stakes in asset management and real estate firms and increase ownership in its portfolio companies, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The sharia-compliant investment house, heavily impacted by the global debt crisis, is assessing various opportunities to acquire new stakes and is also looking to increase the stake in its group companies subject to regulatory approval, it said in a regulatory filing in Dubai.

GFH did not provide any specific details on the firms it was looking to acquire or the amount it was looking to commit.

The statement came in response to an interview given by the Acting Chief Executive, Hisham Alrayes, to a Bahraini newspaper and did not provide any further details on the transactions.

GFH is also in discussions with prospective partners to launch a $50 million technology fund called Injazat 2 and is still awaiting regulatory approval for its purchase of AdaBank in Turkey, which was initially announced in 2011.

GFH has restructured a number of debt facilities since 2010 as the firm struggled with its debt burden in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

In July, GFH extended the repayment of $45 million of sharia-compliant debt - part of a $100 million facility which was initially restructured in March 2010.

This followed an agreement to extend a $110 million Islamic bond, or sukuk, in May. The deal, also for six years, carried a two-year grace period on repayments.

Alrayes, previously GFH's chief investment officer, was named acting CEO in April, following the departure of Ted Pretty last year. (Reporting by David French; Editing by Dinesh Nair)

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