Bahrain’s GFH gets Central Bank approval for $1BN property sale

GFH Financial Group, the Bahraini Sharia-compliant investment company, said it got “conditional approval” from the central bank on an offer to sell its real estate portfolio.

The Manama-based company has received a $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) offer to sell its property portfolio, GFH said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market on Sunday, where its shares are traded. It expects to receive an upfront payment ranging from $259 million to $380m, with the remainder based on a joint development agreement over five years.

“The transaction will be subject to GFH’s shareholders approval prior to execution,” the company said.

In May, GFH said it received an offer to exit its property portfolio. At the time, the offer was under study and due diligence, as well as subject to board and regulatory approvals. The group, which is listed on the Bahrain bourse and the DFM, is also seeking a cross-listing in Saudi Arabia’s stock market Tadawul, the region’s biggest index by market capitalisation.

In August, the company said its second-quarter profit rose 19 per cent to $36m from the same period a year ago, boosted by income from investment deals and declining operating expenses.

Earlier this year, GFH acquired 85 per cent of the UAE retail app, The Entertainer, in a deal which gives it about 5 to 10 per cent control of the company, while GFH manages the remaining stake on behalf of the investors.

GFH will invest up to $150m in The Entertainer throughout the holding period. UAE family conglomerates Al Futtaim and Al Zarooni have also acquired “significant” minority stakes in the app and will partner with GFH to extend its reach.

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