Gulf Finance House Reports Q1 2013 Profits Of $1.5M

Manama, May 9 (BNA)– Gulf Finance House (GFH), the Bahrain based Islamic investment bank, today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 recording another period of sound results and profitability.
GFH reported a net profit of US$1.5 million for the quarter compared with US$ 1 million during the same quarter in previous year, an increase of 50%. Total income for the period was at US$11.1 million compared to US$12.9 million during the first quarter of 2012. Income was primarily from management fees from funds under management and also, profit of US$ 4.9 million from repurchase of debts at discount. The Bank’s strategy of streamlined operations continued to bear results with a 30% reduction in the operating costs for the current quarter at US$8.3 million compared to US$11.9 million in Q1 2012.

Highlighting the positive performance for the period, Mr. Hisham Al Rayes, Acting CEO of GFH, said, “We are pleased to announce another quarter of continued progress at the Bank as reflected in our results and following our restructuring activities. Enhanced results for the quarter were derived from ongoing efforts to strengthen the underlying performance of the Bank and our asset base, which remains significant and holds considerable value. During the quarter, the Bank and its subsidiaries focused on maximising the value of existing investments. Importantly, GFH Capital undertook due diligence on a number of potential strategic investors for Leeds United FC and the Bank worked on exit arrangements for Mega City Navi Mumbai.”

He added, “Today, GFH is a bank firmly focused on maximizing the potential of our current portfolio of investments and working on early exits from our projects. We have also been focusing on the further profitable growth for the Bank and our investors leveraging our expertise and ability to structure unique products in growth sectors. We are pleased with the results of our efforts over the past quarter and look forward to announcing further progress in the coming period.”

About Gulf Finance House
Since its establishment in 1999, Bahrain based Gulf Finance House (GFH) has while distinguished by managing and placing investment in the Middle East and North Africa “MENA” region. Banks activities are focused on development of Islamic Financial Institutions, Infrastructure Projects, Private Equities, and Asset Management. GFH is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, the Bahraini Stock Exchange, the Dubai Financial Market and the London Stock Exchange in the form of a GDR.

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BNA 1517 GMT 2013/05/09

Kingdom of Bahrain hosts the First International Investment Forum for Entrepreneurs

Manama, May 9th (BNA) –Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Arab Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship and Investment Training of United Nations Industrial Development “UNIDO”, Shaikh Ibrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa declared the intention of Kingdom of Bahrain to sign a financing agreement with the Arab Fund for Development to allocate 30 million dollars to finance projects of entrepreneurs in Bahrain. He also highlighted that the issue is understudy at the Ministry of Finance, which is expected to be announced soon.
Shaikh Ibrahim said that this amount will be cut off from a total amount of 2 billion dollars allocated by the Arab Chambers of Commerce to support entrepreneurs in 2009, pointing out that the amount of the agreement obtained by the Arab entrepreneurs from the fund reached 150 million dollars.

Shaikh Ibrahim’s statements came on the sidelines of the press conference held by “UNIDO” to announce the launch of the First International Investment Forum for Entrepreneurs, which will be held in Bahrain in January 2014 in collaboration with the Arab Chambers of Industry and Agriculture, the Arab Bank in Africa (BADEA), as well as Baraka Bank Group and the European Bank.

Shaikh Ibrahim expected the attendance of about 1000 Arab entrepreneurs from the Arab countries and the world to the forum. He also added that the forum, which will be accompanied by an exhibition for the products of the entrepreneurs, aims at directing international successful mechanisms and contributing to the dissemination of micro, small and medium institutions to actively contribute in promoting economy, and grant every citizen their just share to participate in their country’s resources.

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A house in three months in about BD60,000 is possible says the Kobaisi Group

Manama, May 8 (BNA) — In less than three months a new house can be installed and handed over on a turnkey basis. This is new in the Gulf, Essa Mubarak Al Kobaisi, Founder Chairman Essa Mubarak Al Kobaisi Group, told the Bahrain News Agency.
“We embarked on the new project called pre-cast houses. The materials are acquired locally – aggregate from Ras Al Khaimah, washed sand (cleaned and washed) from Bahrain and cement. We are able to assemble the ingredients because we have a factory to manufacture the blocks, and readymix concrete and cement and steel,” he said. In three days the ingredients for making the house can be made ready and moved to the location. When the housing equipment is moved, the ground beam is ready so that the structure is ready for installation. The panels are then erected for one or two floors, he added.
Abdulla Essa Al Kobaisi, the Managing Director of the company told the agency, pre-fabricated housing was already ongoing. “We are now building about 62 houses and 84 apartments and soon we will start a project of 188 flats in one compound between Eker and Sanad area. This will have built up areas of 125 to 150 square metres and cost about BD40,000 to BD50,000. These are cost-effective and benefits those who have taken loans from the Housing Bank,” he said. The housing units will be two bedroom or even three bedroom and designed for families in the lower income.
There are also villa projects – including small villas in the BD80,000 to BD150,000 range — based on the size of plots and built up areas. “We are cost effective because we have everything under one roof. We create the material to be used and thus reduce the cost, catering to the low cost housing. We also have our own automation of building,” the managing director said. Transport, wastage in time are among the key ingredients in housing costs rising, he said. The cost of materials is not much changed. “We are now producing three houses a day. In this period we are able to create the infrastructure for the houses,” he said..
In one month it is possible to build about 30 to 40 houses, including tile fixing and painting and handing over the house, Abdulla said. “With our improved workmanship we are able to deliver better houses and at a faster pace without compromising on the quality of housing. Gypsum board and other alternate materials are not conducive for the Gulf climate,” he added.
Prefabricated houses are already on and some have been handed over in Sanad and Arad and Hidd he said. Asked about the anathema for apartments among the people of Bahrain, the junior Kobaisi said, “We have the price value which we cannot control in this case, including the escalating land prices. In 1996 when we began, land price was BD2 per square foot, now it is BD30. The land price is now more than the loan given to the citizen. So the solution is to go vertical and utilise the same land for more houses. Locals cannot get houses in BD40,000 to BD60,000. With the loans getting cancelled at the ende of one year and applications pending the thinking of the people is changing and so they are looking at apartments.”
“We design the apartments in a way that suits the Bahraini tastes. There is no garden, but there is laundry, there is housemaid room. Most have two or three bed room and some apartment even have have majlis, depending on the space available. Here we load the land cost into over 24 apartments. When the number of units increases on one patch of land, the land price is reduced and more people are served and this is the thinking now being brought into the people,” he added.
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BNA 0914 GMT 2013/05/08

New PoPs enhance Batelco foray into Europe

Manama, May 8 (BNA) — Bahrain’s integrated communications provider, Batelco, is expanding its global services across Europe, by installing a number of new point of presence (PoPs) facilities, including the UK and France.
The enhanced network will provide global solutions to connect customers to new opportunities, by facilitating greater potential to expand effortlessly through Batelco. It will also serve to attract international players to connect through Batelco’s seamless and reliable network in the Middle East and Gulf region.
Previously a number of regional POP’s across the GCC and the Middle East were established to facilitate cost effective connectivity. With these, Batelco as become a strong telecommunications player on the global market. The new PoPs help enhance the Batelco Group’s position globally. As a result of the expansion programme, its partners and customers can now enjoy the full range of MPLS layer 2 & 3, IPLC and other Ethernet services across the globe.
Batelco General Manager Enterprise Division, Adel Daylami, said that this strategic programme is an important element in the provider’s aim at strengthening its global presence and will enable an extension of its global network solutions to its international customers through its reliable, state of the art network.
“Batelco invests in acquiring global capacity to have redundancy and resilience through the whole GNET network. This further enhances ties of trust that our current customers and partners have in Batelco’s capabilities,” he added.
“The POP’s complement Batelco’s range of global connectivity services — Global MPLS IPVPN layer 3 & Ethernet layer 2 , EoSDH and IPLC , that are supported by a professional team in one of the region’s most sophisticated NOC’s (Network Operation Centre’s) as well as the performance monitoring via the Batelco portal (Batelco NetView). This ensures our customers receive enhanced efficiency by offering seamless, secure and dedicated interconnectivity,” he said.
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BNA 0912 GMT 2013/05/08