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Wed 27 Feb 2019 11:57 AM

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Bahrain's Mumtalakat open to McLaren IPO, despite Brexit uncertainty

Mumtalakat's Mahmood Al Kooheji said turning a profit at Gulf Air isn't a priority

Bahrain's Mumtalakat open to McLaren IPO, despite Brexit uncertainty
While UK-based McLaren will be affected by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it will need to “redefine a solution for it,” Al Kooheji said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Manama, Bahrain. “Life goes on.”

Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund remains open to an initial public offering of McLaren Group, though it isn’t in a rush to sell its controlling stake in the supercar maker and Formula One racing team.

“When we think it’s the right time, we’ll go” for an IPO, said Mahmood Al Kooheji, chief executive officer of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. “We’re a happy investor in McLaren.”

While UK-based McLaren will be affected by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it will need to “redefine a solution for it,” Al Kooheji said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Manama, Bahrain. “Life goes on.”

McLaren is Mumtalakat’s biggest investment in Europe. Aston Martin and Bentley Motors have been making arrangements to do what they can to avoid problems with their supply chains as British Prime Minister Theresa May considers a plan to delay Brexit and stop the UK leaving the European Union with no deal next month.

Looking ahead

The Bahrain fund is confident 2019 will be a better year, Al Kooheji said. The fund has been seeking to diversify away from the Middle East where it holds 63 percent of its $15.4 billion portfolio. About 29 percent of its holdings are in Europe, while North America accounts for 8 percent.

Al Kooheji added that Asia is a “very interesting area” and the fund is keen to invest there.

He said turning a profit on Gulf Air isn’t a priority as “it’s a bridge that’s serving the economy”.

”Gulf Air can become profitable but it would come at the expense of connectivity needed by Bahrain’s business community,” he said.

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