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Mumtalakat planning to tap sukuk market

DAVOS: Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund, which invests mostly at home, plans to diversify away from private equity projects and into stocks and bonds, its chief executive said yesterday.

Talal Alzain also said that Mumtalakat expects to receive a credit rating this year, which would allow it to tap capital markets for funding, including sukuk.

Mumtalakat, which has assets of around $10 billion, has investments in 35 companies. It holds stakes above 50 per cent in more than 15 of those firms.

"We want to diversify. We will be looking at investments across markets. Our immediate focus will be to diversify investments, channel funds more towards liquidity, that is fixed income, equity markets," Alzain said.

A $1 billion motor sports-themed commercial real estate project in Bahrain was likely to be financed by a combination of investment from strategic investors, private sector funding and some of its own equity, he said.

But Mumtalakat would wait to receive its credit rating later this year before issuing bonds.

"Getting a rating, which is to us to be transparent. As we get a rating we will tap capital markets," he said.

Getting a credit rating has several i

Mumtalakat, which publishes annual reports and discloses its assets, is one of the most transparent sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in the Gulf.

"Some hostility from some Western European countries and the US towards SWFs in my mind came out because of the lack of transparency," he said.

"In order for us to be a fair player in the market, we have to be transparent. It helps us ease the process of achieving our targets. We want to have the best corporate governance."



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