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Bahrain's Arcapita to widen footprint in Asia
Joyce Teo
Sat, Feb 02, 2008
The Straits Times
BAHRAIN-BASED Arcapita Bank has plans to grow further in Asia, and to take on bigger deals from its regional office in Singapore.

The international investment firm has completed nearly US$23 billion (S$32.6 billion) worth of transactions and has an equity capital base of more than US$1.1 billion.

It will focus on infrastructure and real estate in Asia before considering private equity, said chief executive Atif A. Abdulmalik.

The company officially opened its regional office in Singapore yesterday; it had been operating out of a temporary office for some time.

Arcapita has leased the entire 44th floor of Republic Plaza - its first office in the region. Its three other offices are in Manama, Bahrain's capital; Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States; and London.

'We believe there is tremendous growth potential in Asia for our real estate business via investment in logistics and housing projects,' said Mr Abdulmalik.

He said reasonable buys could open up in Singapore's real estate market as the sub-prime crisis dampens expectations.

Mr Asim Zafar, Arcapita's co-global head of real estate and head of asset-based investment, said the company did not look at real estate in Singapore last year because prices were largely inflated.

Sectors that Arcapita is keen on include residential and industrial, said Mr Martin Tan, its other co-global head of real estate.

The company has already set its sights on energy assets in Singapore.

Last August, Arcapita called off a planned Singapore listing of the US$300 million Arcapita Utility Trust, citing shaky financial markets and poor investor valuations.

At the time, it said that the trust's water utility and wind farm assets were likely to be undervalued by public market investors.

'We were offered better valuations by the private market... We sold the assets at a 15 to 20 per cent premium over our expected figures,' said Mr Zafar.

The wind farm assets were sold in September while the water company was sold in November.
 

 
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