Saudi reforms offer 'great potential', says Investcorp boss

Mohammed bin Mahfoodh says that even 50% of reforms being successful will see a dramatic change for the region
Mohammed bin Mahfoodh, the executive chairman of Bahrain-based investment firm Investcorp.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Thu 19 Apr 2018 02:01 PM

Saudi Arabia will be “fantastically changed” even if half of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms materialise as planned, according to Mohammed bin Mahfoodh, the executive chairman of Bahrain-based investment firm Investcorp.

In an interview with CNBC in Abu Dhabi, Mahfoodh said that Investcorp – which is among the largest private investors in Saudi Arabia – believes there is “great potential” in the Saudi reforms.

“I think if the Crown Prince only achieves 50 percent of his vision, that country is going to be fantastically changed to do the better,” he said. “We in particular are very positive about the drive to empower the private sector, to do a lot with SMEs.”

Privatisation efforts in Saudi Arabia, he added, will ultimately have a positive effect on businesses throughout the region.

“Saudi [Arabia] has always been a huge market that effected value and supply chains around the region,” he said.

Mahfoodh also noted that while he understands hesitance on the part of investors worried about conditions and recent events in the region, he is confident governments are taking the necessary steps to ensure economic stability and diversification.

“No more can [can] this region live on being a one commodity exporter. We needed to work on different revenue streams, whether it is manufacturing, logistics or tourism,” he said.

“There is obviously pains in the short term, but I think governments in the region really need to say, when this is all done, whether oil prices come back or not, what have we achieved,” he added. “If they have achieved diversified economies…then it has been a fantastic time.”

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