October 30, 2017 / 9:53 AM / a year ago

Bahrain's GFH eyeing Saudi listing, Gulf financial firm -CEO

DUBAI, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group is considering a listing in Saudi Arabia and is also in talks to acquire a Gulf financial services company which has a presence in the kingdom, its chief executive told Reuters on Monday.

GFH is also keen to participate in Saudi Arabia’s privatisation programme in sectors such as education and healthcare, Hisham al-Rayes said in a phone interview.

“We are looking at asset management and private equity sector as sectors we would like to acquire,” he said.

GFH’s move to list in Saudi Arabia comes in the wake of Saudi market reforms that will allow listings by companies from other countries. Saudi officials have said these listings will begin next year.

“We already have some Saudi shareholders, but being cross-listed will add a lot of enrichment to our shareholder base... (and) will support our growth plan in Saudi Arabia,” al-Rayes said.

He said cross-listing will not include any capital raising and it would be premature to give a definitive timeline for the listing.

He also disclosed that GFH is in talks with a financial services company in the Gulf which also has operations in Saudi Arabia. He did not name the company.

The talks come after GFH, which has a market capitalisation of $1.6 billion, in June said it had postponed talks to acquire Dubai-based Shuaa Capital due to a failure to reach acquisition terms and a lack of initial regulatory approval. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; additional reporting by Tom Arnold; editing by Jason Neely)

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