* Expects 15-20 percent annual profit growth over five years
* Sees high demand for hedge funds, U.S. real estate
* Fully invested its $1 bln Gulf Opportunity Fund
* Considering at least two investments in the Gulf
By Mirna Sleiman
DUBAI, Feb 2 Bahrain-based investment company
Investcorp expects 15-20 percent annual growth over
the next five years, its chief financial officer said on Sunday
after reporting a 53 percent increase in first-half net profit.
Investcorp, which famously took luxury brands Gucci
and Tiffany & Co public in the 1990s, made a net profit of $60.1
million in the six months to Dec. 31, against $39.2 million in
the same period a year earlier.
"This is a good result in the short term and in sync with
our five-year plan," CFO Rishi Kapoor told reporters in Dubai.
"Our growth expectations are around 15 to 20 percent a year."
Fee income for the period rose 24 percent to $74.3 million,
driven by strong transaction activity and higher demand for
alternative investments such as hedge funds.
Investcorp, which had $11.3 billion in assets under
management at Dec. 31, has received increasing interest from
institutional investors in hedge funds and a strong appetite for
acquisitions in the United States, mainly in the real estate
Investcorp, which has offices in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and
Abu Dhabi, has fully invested its $1 billion Gulf Opportunity
Fund but no new funds are imminent, Kapoor said.
"We remain opportunistic and ready to raise funds on a
deal-by-deal basis. We are working on at least two opportunities
in the Gulf region right now," he said.
Investcorp is examining possible deals in consumer-focused
sectors such as retail, healthcare and education.
The company last month acquired a significant minority stake
in Namet, a Turkish supplier of processed red meat to the
retail, hotel, restaurant and catering sectors.
That followed the purchase of a 25 percent stake in Saudi
Arabian sports and fitness business Leejam Sports Co.
Its technology portfolio, meanwhile, has shrunk over the
past year with the New York listing of Fleetmatics and
agreements to sell its stakes in British technology firm TDX
Group and online payments company Skrill Group.
Sources have said that Investcorp is among three remaining
candidates vying to buy a 20 percent stake in Italian luxury
goods group Versace, which is selling the stake ahead of a
possible listing to fund its internationl expansion and
development of new ranges.
Kapoor declined to confirm or deny that Investcorp had bid
for the Versace stake.