(Adds detail, Co-CEO quotes)
By Tom Arnold
DUBAI Feb 9 Bahrain-based Investcorp is
responding to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and
Brexit by seeking investments in U.S. business services and
British real estate, the private equity firm's Co-Chief
Executive Rishi Kapoor said.
Investcorp, which expects its assets under management to
rise to around $21 billion in the first half of 2017, on
Thursday reported a fall in profit to $35.6 million in the six
months to Dec. 31 from $50.9 million in the prior-year period.
This was largely due to the writedown of a real estate
investment in the U.S. which it bought before the global
financial crisis, Kapoor told Reuters on a call.
Among potential investments in the U.S., Europe and the
Gulf, Investcorp was looking for opportunities created by
Britain's vote to leave the European Union and uncertainty over
whether Trump's U.S. administration would deploy fiscal stimulus
and the pace of interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
"As a consequence (of the uncertainty) in the U.S., the kind
of businesses we are focusing on are those resilient to cyclical
downturns," Kapoor said, adding that business services was one
area in particular where it was looking for opportunities.
Kapoor said U.S.-based AlixPartners, the global advisory
firm it agreed to acquire ownership stakes in along with other
investors in November, was an example of this thinking.
In Britain, Investcorp was looking at real estate assets
with a long-term horizon in order to overcome any market
volatility in the next two or three years, he said.
The pound's slump since June's Brexit vote has encouraged
investors from some Middle Eastern markets linked to the U.S.
dollar to look for openings in the property market.
Investcorp, which was founded in 1982, is one of the oldest
Middle Eastern private equity houses and is best known outside
the region for listing luxury goods brands such as Gucci and
Tiffany & Co.
It has increasingly branched out into other sectors and set
out a goal in 2015 to more than double its assets under
management in the next five to seven years to $25 billion.
In a big step towards achieving that goal it agreed to buy
3i Group's debt-management business in October. When
that deal closes in the first half of 2017, Investcorp said its
assets under management will reach around $21 billion.
(Additional reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Andrew
Torchia and Alexander Smith)