The Hong Kong-based Peregrine Group is expanding its activities in the Middle East with plans to establish a Bahrain-based investment bank. The group established a branch in Manama 12 months ago which already offers Arab investors a range of its Asian markets investment products.

The new investment bank is planned to have capital of about $100 million raised from Peregrine Investment Holdings or its subsidiaries and several private and institutional investors in the Gulf. The Gulf-based capital will be raised by private placement. The bank could be operational before the end of next year, although further details will be announced earlier in 1996.

The new bank will expand on the range of Asian opportunities already offered to Middle East investors through the existing branch in Bahrain. Asad Jamal, managing director and chief executive officer for the Middle East, says he has experienced a good response during the past year for Peregrine’s products and services, which include private banking, equity and fixed income funds, direct investment opportunities and corporate finance activities. Many Gulf investors are seeking to diversify their portfolios and are attracted by the growing Asian economies. ‘There is very little competition in terms of Asian emerging market products,’ he says. ‘We find that we are covering a niche market.’

Peregrine was set up in 1988 by a group of Hong Kong investors, with the aim of offering integrated investment banking and securities brokerage services in the Asian financial markets. At the end of 1994, the group reported assets of $HK 13,840 million ($1,797 million), with profits of $HK 637 million ($83 million). The group has 30 overseas offices.