Arqaam Capital Ltd., the Dubai-based investment bank focused on emerging markets, hired Rothschild to explore financing options as it seeks to expand into Saudi Arabia and Africa.
“Given our aggressive expansion plans, we thought it prudent to hire a firm like Rothschild to carry out a strategic review to assess all possible financing options,” Chief Executive Officer Riad Meliti said in an interview in Dubai. “It could be an IPO, a strategic investor or a bond issue.”
The bank, present in five countries in the Middle East and Africa, has about $150 million of capital and may need extra financing for acquisitions, according to Meliti, who said that Arqaam is pursuing a number of “inorganic opportunities.”
Arqaam, which last year became the first broker to join Johannesburg’s stock exchange in three years, is building its African business as it seeks greater access to the region’s fastest-growing economies. It also plans to open “a fully fledged investment bank” in Saudi Arabia as the country opens its bourse to foreign investors, Meliti said.
In Africa, Arqaam is expanding in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria for investment and advisory work. It also plans to extend its coverage of African stocks. In Egypt, the bank currently has a brokerage license and is “reorganizing” its operations there to carry out investment banking, Meliti said.
The bank bought the infrastructure asset management business of Instrata Capital in Bahrain, which holds power generation and water desalination assets across the Persian Gulf. It also bought El Rashad Securities Brokerage SAE in Cairo to expand in Egypt and also acquired Libya’s Al Rashad Finance and Management Advisory to build a base in north Africa.