Among the major new shareholders will be the UAE’s General Pension & Social Security Authority, Kuwait Investment Company, Kuwait’s Global Investment Houseand Al-Shayie Group, Al-Zamil Groupand Al-Babtain Group, all of Saudi Arabia.

The new funds will be used to launch commercial banking operations, for which GFH was granted a licence by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA – central bank) in mid-December. The commercial bank will specialise in real estate activities. GFH previously held only an investment banking licence. Major investments include the $1,000 million Bahrain Financial Harbour project and a 52 per cent stake in Bahrain Aluminium Extrusion Company (Balexco).