May. 27, 2020


Amr Al Menhali

UAE, Abu Dhabi

Amr Al Menhali

CEO, Waha Capital

Waha capital sees Abu Dhabi's strength as a tech and fintech hub as fundamental to attracting further foreign investment.

BIO

Amr Al Menhali joined Waha Capital as CEO in September 2019. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry across a variety of leadership positions, including as CEO of a leading UAE bank. In his previous roles, Al Menhali led several strategic transformation projects, building high performance businesses to achieve sustainable growth. He is currently an independent director of GFH Financial Group, in addition to being a board member of several international public companies, including SDX Energy, NESR, and Deem Finance. Previously, he was a board member of the UAE Banks Federation and Abu Dhabi Finance. Al Menhali holds a bachelor's in business administration and has completed the general management program at Harvard Business School in Boston.


What are the core principles that drive your investment strategy?
Creating sustainable returns for our shareholders and investors is at the heart of Waha Capital's investment strategy. When assessing any potential investment, be it for our asset management or private investments division, we not only look at growth prospects by gauging potential appreciation, valuation, and internal rate of return metrics, but at recurring income because cash flow is a key metric for our business and shareholders. Waha Capital has the ability to invest across various phases of the investment cycle, so long as there is a clear growth trajectory and a path to profitably exit. Our strategy with private investments has always focused on taking an active investment approach. As such, we will continue to make investments in companies where we have a seat on the board and a substantial say. With regard to our asset management business, we continue to implement a robust governance framework that focuses on making measured cumulative gains over the years and managing funds entrusted to us in the most prudent manner while hedging our securities trading through a long-short strategy to reduce risks.

What are some of the specific sectors you target?
With asset management, we take an opportunistic approach, investing in multiple sectors and regions. Our private investment division has historically been overly dependent on the energy sector but given the boom in technology, we are increasingly looking at the promising field of technology and fintech. As a firm, we invested in Channel VAS, a fintech firm serving 500 million clients in 29 countries. Despite the massive boom in valuations of technology globally, we are still bullish and continue to appraise opportunities in the tech sector, especially fintech. We are also looking at the pharmaceutical sector as an area that we may invest in. Even though the medical sector has faced challenges, we have grown revenues at Arabian Anglo Healthcare, one of our portfolio companies, by almost 21% since 2016.

What are some ways you are looking at the technology sector for opportunities?
At Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), several strategic incubators that focus on harnessing the potential of fintech have been set up to nurture growth in this key sector. The UAE has already been successful in this domain, and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is another entity that has been able to attract fintech firms. The technology sector is key to attracting FDI into Abu Dhabi, and we will be keeping a close eye on developments in the sector.

What are the investment benefits of Abu Dhabi and the region?
The UAE is a highly desirable location due to its attractive tax structure, world-class infrastructure, safety, security, and limitless opportunities for entrepreneurs and professionals. The country is guided by a forward-thinking leadership whose primary focus is the development of human capital. One of the most important things our leadership's vision stands for is the desire to explore new trends. Furthermore, the government is willing to explore innovation trends. In terms of technology, the sophistication and the penetration across the UAE government is more advanced than many countries in Europe.

How will Waha Capital advance and develop over the next decade?
In the asset management division, Waha Capital has become an established brand. Over the next decade, we will consolidate the brand by adding new funds to ensure smoother cashflow. We will not, however, adopt a one-size-fits-all formula and will continue to explore a broad array of different sectors to complement our existing investments. In the technology space, for example, digital banking is gaining further traction, we now have blockchain, and the next focus will be data. These areas exhibit growth potential, especially specific sectors within the data domain itself. We have an excellent future ahead of us in terms of profitability, return, and organic growth. These elements, coupled with our robust risk-reward scheme, will ensure excellent returns for our shareholders.

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