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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Bahrain's GFH Q2 profit rises 19% on investment returns and lower expenses

Net profit attributable to shareholders in the three months ending June 30 reached $36m

Hisham Ahmed Al Rayes, chief executive of GFH, says second-quarter profit is boosted by strategic investment deals. Phil Weymouth forThe National 
Hisham Ahmed Al Rayes, chief executive of GFH, says second-quarter profit is boosted by strategic investment deals. Phil Weymouth forThe National 

GFH Financial Group, the Bahrain-based Sharia-compliant investment firm, said its second quarter net income rose 19 per cent, boosted by income from investment deals and a decline in operating expenses.

Net profit attributable to shareholders in the three months ending June 30 reached $36 million (Dh132.2m), GFH said in a statement on Monday. Quarterly consolidated revenues increased 4.8 per cent year-on-year to $63.7m, which included legal claims settled in favour of the group, it said.

"The ongoing growth in our investment banking business continues to drive enhanced results and profitability," Hisham Alrayes, chief executive of GFH, said. "Improvements in income generation came from a number of strategic deals including our landmark investment in the UAE-based Entertainer and a notable trophy real estate asset in Chicago."

The Bahrain headquartered firm acquired 85 per cent of the UAE-based retail app, The Entertainer, in May through a deal which gives GFH about 5 to 10 per cent control of the company, while it manages the remainder of the stake on behalf of the investors.

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GFH will invest up to $150m in The Entertainer throughout the holding period. UAE family conglomerates Al Futtaim and Al Zarooni have acquired "significant" minority stakes in lifestyle app and will partner with GFH to extend its reach.

GFH's operating expenses for the second quarter declined to $23.2m from $28m recorded a year earlier, it said.

The firm has made "strong progress" across its infrastructure portfolio, advancing projects according to plan and in line with its focus on achieving profitable exists going forward, Mr Alrayes said.

"We are confident that we are on track to further improve results and maintain strong distributions to shareholders," he said.

The Bahrain-based company reported a 56 per cent drop in its 2017 full-year net profit citing a decline in income and difficult market conditions.

The investment bank, whose shares are listed in Bahrain, Kuwait and Dubai, is seeking approval from Saudi Arabia’s market regulator to cross-list on the Tadawul stock exchange, the region’s biggest bourse by market capitalisation.