Gulf International Bankhas been appointed financial adviser on the capital raising process. The balance between the private placement of shares with strategic investors and the public offering has yet to be finalised but the IPO is due to come to market in the first quarter of 2006.

Subject to approval by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA – central bank), the IPO is likely to be staged through the Bahrain Stock Exchange and be open to investors of all nationalities. Among ABG’s expansion plans are an operation in Yemen, for which feasibility studies are under way, and a $100 million-capitalised bank in Syria, owned 49 per cent by ABG and 51 per cent by Syrian investors (MEED 8:7:05).