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Global eyes Jordan, Egypt, US

Kuwait City, July 30, 2007

Global Investment House, Kuwait's biggest investment bank by market value, said it would almost triple its stake in Jordan's Union Bank and enter Saudi Arabia this year as it expands abroad.

Global, which has about 2.4 billion dinars ($8.5 billion) in assets under management, will also expand an Egyptian brokerage it owns and is still considering buying a New York fund manager as it eyes the US market.

Global made a net profit of 24.2 million dinars in the second quarter and expects record earnings per share in 2007, executive vice president Bader al-Sumait told Reuters in an interview.

It made 108 fils per share last year (there are 1,000 fils per Kuwaiti dinar).

'We will be outperforming this year,' Sumait said on Sunday.

Global, which runs investment funds and buys into companies through those funds, plans to start operations in Saudi Arabia early in the fourth quarter, having won a licence this year, he said.

The Saudi subsidiary would eventually be listed and offer a full range of investment banking services in the world's biggest oil exporting nation, he said.

In Jordan, Global wants to raise its stake in Union Bank for Savings & Investment to 24 percent, Sumait said, confirming a report by Kuwaiti daily al-Qabas.

Global holds 8.5 percent of the bank, according to the Amman bourse Web site.

Global's First Jordan Investment Co. sold shares this year and raised $85 million to buy into companies, set up new firms and invest in real estate.

Global also wants to boost its presence in Egypt, the most populous Arab country, after buying a major stake in brokerage Capital Trust earlier this year, Sumait said.

'We want to diversify the revenues of this company ... We are expanding the activities and open more branches,' he said.

Global has also set its sights on the United States, where it has alliances with international banks such as JP Morgan to market fund products.

'We are well-placed in the Middle East, the second step will be the States,' Sumait said, adding the company was still considering acquiring a fund manager in New York as part of expansion plans first announced in March.

'For the time being we have alliances with international investment banks ... It's still on our radar,' he said. - Reuters      




Tags: global investment | Kuwait City | Jordan bank |

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