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Dubai group pioneers new 'Silk-Road'

Dubai, September 22, 2010

Dubai-based Arqaam Capital is pioneering a strategy to build bridges across the ‘New’ Silk Road - linking corporations, family groups and financial institutions in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

A fast-growing player in the investment banking world, bringing regional and international product offerings to the Middle East, Arqaam had earlier this year advised the Jordanian-based CTI Group on a strategic cement-related acquisition in Indonesia.

'The stagnation in Western markets allows us to develop a golden triangle connecting Middle East investors to attractive opportunities in both African and Southeast Asian markets,' said Tamer Makary, Arqaam’s head of corporate finance.

'Arab players are now perceived as more strategic investors, with genuine operational and managerial value to add across the Islamic corridor of countries in Asia and south along the Nile Basin,' said Makary, who travels almost weekly to Nairobi and Jakarta.

Arqaam’s corporate finance team, led by the Columbia University-educated graduate, has made a name for itself in its first year by uncovering growth-oriented investment opportunities in key emerging markets for regional investors.

In line with the newly-adopted strategy, the Dubai-based investment bank this month secured Qatar National Bank, the gulf state’s biggest lender by assets, as a potential 'Standby Buyer' for a rights issue planned for the first quarter of 2011 on behalf of Bank Kesawan, a publicly-listed commercial bank with 33 branches across Indonesia.

The three-year old Arqaam’s first foray into building bridges along the new Silk Road, named after the ancient trading routes between the Middle East and Asia, was in March.

The investment bank had acted on behalf of CTI, a cement and clinker trading company that owns and operates assets globally, to secure a strategic investment in Indonesia's largest independent clinker grinding unit in Batam, owned by Bosowa Corporation.

“Arqaam’s expertise in working the various issues of cross-border transactions, including structuring, governance issues and regulatory environment were instrumental in success of this deal,” CTI chief executive officer Mazen M. Dajani said at the conclusion of the deal.

Makary’s reputation for cross-border mid-market transactions was acknowledged last year when he led a team that acted as buy-side advisor to Seera Investment Bank (formerly United International Bank) in its acquisition of Britain’s BWA Water Additives.

It was named the 2009 “Deal of the Year - Islamic Finance Award” for Europe by The Banker, a Financial Times Group publication.

Three years after opening its doors, Arqaam now has a staff of 65 professionals and is actively seeking to enlarge its regional footprint through acquisition of related businesses in the region’s most populous country, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

The planned expansion, which includes opening a research division in Beirut next month, will fuel additional, much welcomed, coverage for all of Arqaam’s seven individually growing business lines, Makary added.-TradeArabia New Service




Tags: Middle East | Africa | Silk Road | Arqaam | Dubai investment bank |

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