December 1, 2023

Investment Banking

Let Your Investment Banking Do The Walking

GFH first-quarter profit up 18.5% on higher investment banking income

Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group reported an 18.5 per cent rise in its first-quarter net profit on the back of strong performance of its investment banking business.

Net profit attributable to the shareholders of the bank for the first three months ended March reached $19.11 million, the company said in a statement on Thursday to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.

The growth reflects “several key deals within the group’s investment banking activities”, the company said.

Total income for the first quarter rose marginally by 0.47 per cent to $90.81m.

Earnings per share for the period stood at $0.54 compared to $0.52 for the first quarter of 2021.

“In the first quarter of 2022, we continued to grow according to the business plan, moving ahead with executing our robust pipeline of opportunities,” said Hisham Alrayes, chief executive of GFH.

“Several key deals reflected positively on our income during the quarter, including the placement of our medical offices and logistics portfolios in the US. The company’s growth was enhanced by the diversification of its business activities, supported by the group’s commercial bank alongside asset management activities.”

GFH has an investment portfolio that spans the Middle East, the US, the UK and Asia in a number of sectors, including health care, education and logistics. Last year, it closed more than $1 billion worth of new investments across the region in those segments.

Listed on the Bahrain Bourse, DFM and Boursa Kuwait, GFH received approval from its shareholders to also cross list its shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in April.

The company also announced plans to cross list its shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in May. The move is expected to further improve liquidity in GFH’s shares and allow the group to gain access to a broader base of retail and institutional investors on the ADX, the company said.

GFH this year formed a new subsidiary, Infracorp, by spinning off its infrastructure and property assets to focus more on financial assets. Infracorp will manage an asset portfolio worth about $3bn, which includes land in the Gulf, North Africa and South Asia.

“Real estate and infrastructure investments were separated from the group’s consolidated accounts after the sale of 60 per cent of Infracorp shares, which reflected positively,” Mr Alrayes said.

“Regarding the efficiency of the capital and the expected profitability of the group, we look forward to continuing this growth during the year and delivering on shareholder expectations, especially with the upcoming instrument in the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.”

GFH’s total assets at the end of March stood at $8.11bn, largely unchanged from $8.08bn at the end of December.

Total expenses for the first three months of the year rose marginally by 0.57 per cent to $71.46m.

The company plans to continue its focus on Islamic finance and asset management, and invest in key markets in the GCC and US, it said.

The investment bank this month acquired a majority stake in Atlanta-based SQ Asset Management, which focuses on student housing.

Under the agreement, the GFH will add 180 property professionals to its employee base, “bringing significant investment and asset management experience in US real estate”, it said.

Updated: May 12, 2022, 11:08 AM