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Mumtalakat eyes new investments

MANAMA: The aftermath of the global economic downturn has seen significant reductions in asset valuations in large parts of the world, creating potential investment opportunities for Mumtalakat, according to its chief executive officer Talal Alzain.

He said there were many opportunities to buy distressed assets worldwide, although he was cautious about some parts of Asia where prices were still inflated.

"There are good deals to be found in North America, Europe and Asia, and we still have time to explore these opportunities," he said in an interview with the Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Mr Alzain said he had always advocated transparency in sovereign wealth funds, even before the financial crisis transformed the issue into a hot topic, since he has long believed it is key to generating confidence among investors.

"For us, the drive to achieve transparency is internally driven and an essential prerequisite to doing business, not the result of outside pressure," he said.

"The 'black box' type of operation deters investors in the current economic climate."

With emerging economies on target to achieve better growth than established markets this year, Mr Alzain expects Mumtalakat to explore these fields over the coming months.

"Forecasts in North America show just 1.5pc GDP growth for 2010 and the euro zone is showing similar figures, but emerging markets are set to provide much larger growth percentages," he said.

"In Bahrain we are expecting 4pc growth and projections for some other emerging economies are set at 8pc. This is why emerging markets will be a focus for us in 2010."

The Report: Bahrain 2010 will mark the culmination of more than six months of on-the-ground research by a team of analysts from OBG.

It will provide information on opportunities for foreign direct investment into Bahrain's economy and will be a guide to the many facets of the kingdom.



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