Bahrain SWF has no plans for new debt sale

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Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund that owns stakes in more than 35 companies, does not plan to sell new debt at the moment, its CEO told Alayam newspaper.

The fund, which manages US$8.8bn in assets, will look to reduce debt levels and extend the repayment period, Mahmood Al Kooheji told the newspaper.

Mumtalakat, which owns stakes in Gulf Air, Aluminium Bahrain and McLaren among others, reported a BHD335.8m (US$891m) loss in 2011 compared with BHD265.1 m a year earlier as provisions for impairments increased.

The firm injected BHD400m into Gulf Air in 2010 as the national carrier restructures amid a slump in business.

“Several restructuring initiatives were undertaken at Gulf Air to reduce operating losses,” the firm said July 8.

“However, the regional geo- political situation and higher fuel costs significantly affected the operations of Gulf Air and resulted in a higher operating loss versus the prior year,” it added.

The company raised US$750m from the sale of bonds in 2010, according to Bloomberg data.

“We remain in a strong financial position and moving forward Mumtalakat will continue to play a vital role in the growth and diversification of Bahrain’s economy, with future investments and partnerships likely to focus on the kingdom and the region,” Al Kooheji said earlier in the month.

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