Venture plans big Bahrain investment
Manama, February 11, 2008
Venture Capital Bank (VC-Bank) will invest $1 billion in the Middle East and North Africa by the end of this year with more than 25 per cent of the investment planned in Bahrain.
The new projects include a $150 million Reef Island development of two residential tower blocks in the kingdom.
Speaking after the bank's annual general meeting, chairman Dr Ghassan Ahmed Sulaiman said the bank was reviewing its strategy after a very successful year and looking to expand its investment portfolio geographically.
He said they had made some investments in Jordan and Egypt and put $113m into a real estate venture in Oman.
But he said they would be prepared to look at Europe and Asia in the future and would not rule out investment in Iran if the political and economic situation offered opportunities.
'There are a lot of opportunities even in countries that are not enjoying an economic boom,' he said.
Having completed its second year of being fully operational, the bank recorded a growth of 143pc last year, and reported $32.3m net profit.
'VC-Bank is a testament of how an innovative vision can materialise in a manner which far exceeds expectations for such a young firm. The bank enjoyed a highly successful last year, marked by record financial results, encouraging strategic initiatives, impressive new business achievements, and on-going organisational developments,' said chief executive officer Abdullatif Mohamed Janahi.
'I would particularly like to highlight the bank's outstanding increase of 143pc in net profit to $32.3m and the return on equity (ROE) of 33pc.
'These examples constitute an extraordinary performance for a newly-established bank, with our ROE comparing more than favourably with even the most successful, long-established international institutions.'
The bank implemented strategic initiatives during the year, including more than doubling their paid-up capital through a successful rights issue and private placement, which will support ambitious business plans for the future.
He said a $100m proposed establishment of Saudi Venture Capital Investment Company, which is currently under formation, heralds the start of a regional expansion strategy into Saudi Arabia and other key GCC markets.
VC-Bank successfully executed a number of new innovative products, projects and deals in the Mena region during last year.
These include unique investment offerings in new sectors such as shipping and fertilisers, new investment companies to tap the potential of growing regional markets such as Oman and Morocco, and additional real estate offerings, including an exclusive residential community project in the iconic 'The World' development in Dubai.
Furthermore, the bank's existing portfolio of investments has substantially progressed during the year. Among these are the Mena SME Private Equity Fund, Jeddah and Abha City centre rejuvenations projects, Park Plaza, Asas Real Estate Company, Challenger Limited, and House of Development.
'Currently working on a number of high-yielding investment projects, which we expect to finalise shortly before launching them as investment products to our esteemed clients,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service