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Mon 18 Oct 2010 12:32 AM

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Bahrain's GFH eyes 75% capital cut after losses

Shareholders to be asked to approve reduction of paid up capital from $625.8m to $145.8m

Bahrain's GFH eyes 75% capital cut after losses
SLASH CAPITAL: Bahrains GFH plans to slash its capital by about 75% to absorb losses from a regional property crash

Bahrain's cash stripped Gulf Finance House (GFH) plans to slash its capital by about 75 percent to absorb the losses from a regional property crash, it said on Sunday.

The Islamic investment house said in an invitation to a shareholders' meeting to be held on Oct 31 it will ask shareholders to approve a reduction of its paid up capital from $625.8 million to $145.8 million due to accumulated losses.

It plans a reverse share split with a ratio of four to one to reduce the number of outstanding shares to 474 million from 1.89 billion.

Its shares last traded at an all time low of $0.12 on Bahrain's stock exchange. On Sunday, it requested its stock be halted on the Kuwait bourse.

After the consolidation and the capital reduction, the new par value to be approved by shareholders would be $0.3075.

GFH relied on fees it charged on investor money raised for private equity and property projects, a market that collapsed when the global financial crisis triggered a regional property crash in 2008.

It posted a $728 million loss for 2009 and has since struggled to pay back its debt as it failed to sell down illiquid property assets and find a new business model.

It narrowly escaped default in February when it reached a last minute deal with lender to roll over a $300 million loan and now needs to find fresh fund to finish the property projects it started from Morocco to India.

GFH has asked the Bahraini and Kuwaiti stock exchanges to halt trading in its shares pending approval of its capital measures from shareholders.

It plans to raise up to $500 million in fresh funds through a murabaha, an equity linked Islamic money market instrument.

It said in the invitation the conversion price for the instrument would be between $0.31 and $0.40 per share, a discount of 20-40 percent to the current market value after the consolidation of shares. (Reuters)

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