First Investment Bank – a Middle East bank launched last week with $120 million of seed capital from eight Gulf financial institutions – is targeting private equity and real estate investments, including deals in the Middle East and North Africa.
First Investment chief executive Jamal al-Hazeem told Reuters the newly launched bank is looking at deals ranging from $50 million to $1 billion. “The thing that works for us is, we're fresh, we have our capital intact, we have no commitments, so we can really sit back and look at the market and choose the right opportunities,” he said.
Real estate would be another major source of business after private equity for the Bahrain-based bank, the report said, having just launched a $500 million “land reclamation” development on Bahrain’s northern coast.
Kuwait-based Gulf Investment House and Boubyan Bank, as well as Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Noor Capital, were part of the eight-party investor group in First Investment Bank.
Kuwait-based Gulf Investment House, in its sector outlook and sector strategy statement this week, it said the financial services industry in the GCC region were not faced with the same “problems of high leverage and sub-prime loans” as the West.