The cabinet in mid-January approved the formation of a holding company for all the government’s commercial assets. The transfer of the holdings will now begin and a professional management team will be appointed.

The initial estimate of the capitalisation of the holding company is BD 2,000 million ($5,263 million) but officials at the Finance Ministry say the eventual valuation is likely to be considerably higher. Among the government assets to be overseen by the holding company will be stakes in Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), Arab Shipbuilding & Repair Yard (ASRY), Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) and National Bank of Bahrain.

It is expected that the holding company will stage initial public offerings (IPOs) of shares in some of the assets. Manama had originally planned to establish a separate firm to oversee its real estate assets, such as stakes in the Durrat al-Bahrain and Lulu Island resorts. However, these are now more likely to be incorporated into the same company.

The project is being overseen by the Finance Ministry and the Economic Development Board (MEED 14:10:05).