Bahrain sovereign fund net loss narrows


Published — Friday 19 July 2013

Last update 19 July 2013 5:35 am

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DUBAI: Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat said its net loss for 2012 narrowed by 32.9 percent as improved performance by its financial services and telecommunications portfolio partly offset lower revenue from its aluminum unit.
One of the smaller sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf region, it had $7.1 billion of assets under management at the end of September. It holds stakes in 40 firms in the kingdom’s non-oil sector, including Bahrain Telecommunications Co. (Batelco) and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba).
Mumtalakat made a net loss of 181.7 million dinars ($482 million) in 2012, it said in a statement, versus a net loss of 270.6 million a year earlier.
Revenues fell 9.9 percent mainly due to lower aluminum prices impacting Alba, said the fund, which was set up in 2006 and has posted net losses for the past five years.
Alba, which owns the world’s fourth-largest smelter, posted a 54.4 percent fall in profits. It was hurt by aluminum cash prices on the London Metals Exchange which fell 16 percent to an average of $2,019 per metric ton.
While it made no mention of it, struggling Gulf Air may have also contributed to the fund’s 2012 loss. Restructuring initiatives at the airline were behind its 2011 loss.
In March, Bahrain’s national carrier cut 15 percent of its workforce and dropped four loss-making routes in its latest round of cost-cutting measures. Last November it trimmed orders for Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
Better performers for Mumtalakat in 2012 included its financial services and telecommunications portfolio, which helped raise profits from associated companies by 9.1 percent, it said.
A 28.3 percent fall in impairments also helped narrow the fund’s loss.
Mumtalakat CEO Mahmood Al-Kooheji said in March that the fund would focus on investment in Bahrain in 2013, with $150 million earmarked for local projects this year.

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