Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

Bahrain has been under pressure as the kingdom runs fiscal and current account deficits fueled by low oil prices. (Reuters)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

  • Investment commitments between January and September jumped 138 percent from a year ago to a record $810 million
  • The rise in FDI is good news for Bahrain’s balance of payment

DUBAI: New foreign direct investment in Bahrain more than doubled in the first nine months of 2018 as the kingdom marketed itself as a base for companies to access the region, especially Saudi Arabia, data released on Tuesday showed.
Investment commitments between January and September jumped 138 percent from a year ago to a record $810 million from 76 firms, said the Economic Development Board, an investment promotion agency. That compared to $733 million in all of 2017, and was over five times the amount of FDI in 2015.
The rise in FDI is good news for Bahrain’s balance of payments, which has been under pressure as the kingdom runs fiscal and current account deficits fueled by low oil prices.
The central bank’s net foreign reserves hit a one-year low of 499.4 million dinars ($1.32 billion) in July, although they rebounded to 734.2 million dinars last month.
Manufacturing and logistics accounted for most foreign investment in the first nine months of this year, the EDB said. Some companies are locating operations in Bahrain to take advantage of reforms in Saudi Arabia, which aims to develop non-oil industries such as mining, light manufacturing and tourism.
Bahrain also wants to become a center for financial technology; last year it created a “regulatory sandbox” allowing companies in the field to experiment without facing normal regulatory constraints.
This year it established a $100 million fund of funds to support technology start-ups across the region, which it hopes will attract venture capital firms to Bahrain.


Nissan panel to recommend outside director to chair board: report

Updated 45 min 44 sec ago
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Nissan panel to recommend outside director to chair board: report

  • Under Nissan’s current corporate charter, the position of board chair is automatically appointed to head the company board
  • Former Chairman Carlos Ghosn had filled both roles prior to his arrest in November

TOKYO: A Nissan Motor governance committee will recommend the appointment of an external director as board chairman, a role distinct from company chairman, in a move to decentralize power at the top level, the Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday.
Under Nissan’s current corporate charter, the position of board chair is automatically appointed to head the company board, the Nikkei said citing a source. Former Chairman Carlos Ghosn had filled both roles prior to his arrest in November for under-reporting his salary for eight years.
The issue of Nissan’s chairmanship is now particularly important after the Japanese firm identified the concentration of power in one executive as one of the reasons Ghosn was able to carry out his alleged fiscal misconduct.
Speculation has swirled about whether the newly appointed chairman of France’s Renault, Jean-Dominique Senard, would assume the chairmanship of the Japanese automaker.
The Nikkei report comes after the governance committee said in a statement that the separation between operation and oversight was among topics discussed on Friday at the committee’s third meeting since it was formed in December after Ghosn’s arrest.
The panel, comprising three Nissan external board directors and four third-party members, is scheduled to make recommendations to Nissan’s board in March on how to tighten lax governance and approval processes for matters including director compensation and chairman selection.
A spokeswoman for the committee said it could not comment on potential recommendations before they are submitted to the Nissan board. Nissan did not immediately reply to emailed request for comment.