Al Salam Bank and MSA launch re­gional fund

The National - News - - BUSINESS - MICHAEL FAHY

Al Salam Bank-Bahrain has part­nered with MSA Cap­i­tal, based in China, to launch a $50 mil­lion (Dh183.6m) ven­ture cap­i­tal fund which will in­tro­duce new Chi­nese tech­nolo­gies and busi­ness mod­els into the Mid­dle East.

The Al Salam-MSA Bahrain Fund I, bet­ter known as MEC Ven­tures, will lever­age MSA’s ex­per­tise gained through its Chi­nese port­fo­lio, in­clud­ing firms in­volved in in­dus­tries such as health­care big data, elec­tric ve­hi­cles, food delivery and ride-hail­ing, and in­tro­duce some of the prac­tices they de­vel­oped into lo­cal com­pa­nies run by ex­pe­ri­enced en­trepreneur­s, it said.

“Al Salam Bank-Bahrain is uniquely po­si­tioned to pro­vide re­gional ac­cess to cap­i­tal and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the ever-grow­ing Mena mar­ket com­ple­ment­ing MSA’s deep in­dus­try ex­per­tise,” said Rafik Nayed, the bank’s group chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“MEC Ven­tures will be an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in the re­gional ven­ture cap­i­tal land­scape, which only stands to grow by lever­ag­ing on cut­ting-edge China-based tech­nolo­gies and ex­per­tise.”

Al Salam Bank is an Is­lamic lender with as­sets of about 1.9 bil­lion Bahraini di­nars (Dh18.6bn) as of Septem­ber 30. The bank, which has re­tail, cor­po­rate and pri­vate bank­ing arms, in­creased profit to share­hold­ers by 19 per cent in the three months to Septem­ber 30 to 4.9m di­nars, as to­tal op­er­at­ing in­come rose 25 per cent to 12.7m di­nars.

MSA Cap­i­tal is a Chi­nese ven­ture cap­i­tal fund with more than $1bn of as­sets un­der man­age­ment, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Last month, Al Waha Fund of Funds, an in­vest­ment ve­hi­cle into ven­ture cap­i­tal owned by the Bahrain govern­ment’s sov­er­eign fund, Mum­ta­lakat, an­nounced that it would in­vest into a $250m by MSA Cap­i­tal, which claims to have made 10 in­vest­ments into the Mid­dle East al­ready.

“We be­lieve that the Mena re­gion is near­ing an in­flec­tion point that can be ac­cel­er­ated through the adop­tion of Chi­nese-in­spired mo­bile-first busi­ness mod­els,” said MSA Cap­i­tal’s man­ag­ing part­ner Ben Har­burg.

“We are proud to part­ner with Al Salam Bank-Bahrain to es­tab­lish MEC Ven­tures, and see Bahrain as a hy­per-ef­fi­cient, user-friendly gate­way to the Mena re­gion.”

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