GFH Financial Group shareholders approve issuance of $500m sukuk - GulfToday

GFH Financial Group shareholders approve issuance of $500 million sukuk


Officials of GFH during its Ordinary General Meeting at the group’s headquarters.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

GFH Financial Group (GFH) announced the successful conclusion of its Ordinary General Meeting (OGM), which was held at the Group’s Bahrain Financial Harbour headquarters.

The agenda of the OGM saw shareholders approve the minutes of the previous General Assembly Meeting held on March 28, 2019.

In addition, the Group received approval from shareholders who accepted the recommendation of the Board to take required steps to issue Sukuk amounting up to $500 million in one or more issuances, subject to obtaining relevant regulatory approvals.

The meeting, which was attended by shareholders, GFH’s Board, management and employees as well as members of the media, was presided over the Group’s CEO Hisham Alrayes.

Furthermore, in line with recent regulatory updates with regards to Market Making, the Group sought and received shareholder approval for the appointment of a market maker and to utilise up to 3 per cent of GFH’s total issued shares for market making, for the financial year 2019 and until the upcoming AGM for the year ending and authorise the board of directors or their delegates to take all the necessary measures and sign all relevant documents and contracts in this regard.

With reference to GFH’s treasury shares held under the market making arrangement, shareholders approved and authorised the board of directors to utilise 140,000,000 shares, representing 3.8 per cent of total issued shares of GFH, for the purpose of a strategic share acquisition in financial institutions, subject to Central Bank of Bahrain approval.

Furthermore, the board of directors or their delegates were also authorise by shareholders to take all the necessary measures to implement the above and sign all relevant documents and contracts in this regard.

GFH is one of the most recognized financial groups in the gulf region that includes: Asset Management, Wealth Management, Commercial Banking and Real Estate Development. The group operations are focused in the GCC, North Africa and India. GFH is listed in Bahrain Bourse, Kuwait Stock Exchange and Dubai Financial Market.

Earlier this month the GFH Financial Group announced that Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) has reaffirmed its international scale ratings at ‘BB / B’ (Double B / Single B). At the same time, national scale ratings have been maintained at ‘BBB-(bh) / A3(bh)’ (Triple B Minus / A Three) with the Outlook on the assigned ratings at ‘Stable’.

The report reviewed the Group’s progress across its key business lines which include investment banking, real estate development, the recently expanded treasury and proprietary investments, and commercial banking undertaken through its 55.4 per cent holding of Bahrain - based Khaleeji Commercial Bank. It positively noted that while the Group’s investments book in real estate assets was sizable that that this concentration is reducing with a recent buildup of investment in treasury products and increasing investments in volatility resistant sectors - including education and healthcare, through its Investment Banking platform.

Other positive achievements and factors highlighted in the report were special note of GFH’s ability to achieve successful exits from some of its real estate projects, thereby benefitting from appreciation and the Group’s ongoing association with UAE-based Abu Dhabi Financial Group (“ADFG” or “the Group”) as a controlling shareholder.

Commenting Hisham Alrayes, CEO of GFH, said, “We’re once again very pleased with the continued positive analysis of GFH’s progress, achievements and prospect for the future.

GFH also launched Britus Education, a platform designed to take advantage of value opportunities in the fragmented trillion dollar global private education industry. GFH expands investments through the new launch of Britus Education.

To mark the launch, GFH and Britus Education hosted an education roundtable forum, which was attended by regional and global industry experts and investors on Dec.2, 2019 on the side lines of the 26th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a leading hub for Islamic banking and finance and a growing centre for education investment.

In launching Britus Education, GFH has already secured seed K-12 schools in the middle east for the platform, developed a robust deal pipeline and plans to conclude various acquisitions in the coming months with an initial target assets of $200 million.  Commenting on the launch, Hisham Alrayes, CEO of GFH Financial Group, said, “I am pleased to unveil our Britus Education platform in line with GFH’s strategy to deliver further value for our investors and shareholders and create a positive impact on the quality of education in the Middle East and globally.

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