Arab financier Faisal Kudsi and other investors are setting up an investment bank in Jordan on the model of the Beirut-based Lebanon Invest. The bank, which will have a capital of $25 million, is due to be launched in September pending approval from the authorities. An investment company set up by Kudsi in Kuwait, Gulfinvest, is due to start work at about the same time.

Kudsi, formerly general manager of the London-based Capital Trust, says that Gulfinvest has been approved by the Kuwaiti central bank and will probably start ‘fully-blown’ operations in September (MEED 25:4:97). In turn, Gulfinvest will own 10-15 per cent of the new Jordanian bank, which Kudsi says will be ‘a multinational investment bank like Lebanon Invest.’ He adds: ‘I believe Jordan offers a number of interesting investment opportunities and there aren’t enough institutions which can structure them in a way acceptable to foreign investors.’

The chairman of the new bank will be Jordan’s former central bank governor Said Nabulsi. Kudsi says its shareholders will include emerging market funds, though he declines to give more details. Capital Trust was one of the founder shareholders of Lebanon Invest, which was set up in 1994 and has since become one of Lebanon’s market leaders in domestic corporate finance and direct investment. Its net profits in 1996 were $1.41 million on capital of $26.5 million. This capital has since been raised to $40 million.