Kuwait's GIH, Kipco unit slash nearly 100 jobs

GIH, Kipco subsidiary trim staff numbers in cost-cutting push
Kuwait's GIH, Kipco unit slash nearly 100 jobs
Global is in talks to restructure some $1.7bn in debt
By Reuters
Sun 22 Jan 2012 04:37 PM

Two of Kuwait's largest investment firms have cut nearly 100
jobs in cost-cutting measures, sources said on Sunday, as they grapple with
difficult market conditions.

Kuwait's Global Investment House has laid off 17 percent of
its staff, or 60 employees out of 350, across the region as part of
cost-cutting measures at the debt-laden firm, two sources said Sunday.

Most of the job cuts at Global, which is in talks to
restructure $1.7bn in debt, will be in Kuwait, one of the sources said.

Meanwhile, Kipco Asset Management Co (KAMCO) has cut 39
positions out of a 120-strong workforce, two sources said. The departures
include the head of asset management at the Kuwaiti firm. KAMCO is a unit of
the Gulf state's largest investment company, Kuwait Projects Co.

"The cuts have been pretty much across the board and no
particular team or department has been spared," one source said in
reference to KAMCO. "There are some people who left before the redundancy
plan.

"Obviously, the market conditions have not been helpful
for most investment firms in the region and that has triggered the
lay-offs."

Kuwait is home to a large number of investment firms which
were hard hit by the global financial crisis. That prompted the government of
the world's fourth-largest oil exporter to approve a $5bn rescue package in
2009.

In May, the country's central bank told investment firms
that they need to separate licences to operate their lending and investment
businesses as it eliminates regulatory overlap with the market regulator.

A company spokesman at Global declined to comment on Sunday.
KAMCO officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Global Investment House had in December agreed with
creditors to defer principal repayments on debt until June 10 to allow for a
renegotiation of the $1.7bn debt restructuring plan it agreed in 2009. Evercore
Partners advised them on the restructuring process.

At the end of September, Global, which reported a wider
third quarter loss, had repaid $232.8m of the total debt amount.

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