Feb. 22, 2016


Raed Jawad Bukhamseen

Kuwait

Raed Jawad Bukhamseen

Chairman, Arab Investment Company (AIC)

BIO

Raed Jawad Bukhamseen is a Kuwaiti businessman born in 1977. He has a degree in business administration from Boston University and began his career in the banking sector in 1999. He currently sits on the board of several prominent banks and companies in Kuwait and founded Arab Investment Company in 2006.

What were AIC's main objectives upon its establishment in Kuwait in 2006, and how has the company's investment strategy evolved over the years?

AIC was initially intended as a traditional investment services company, catering for unconnected parties. This purpose was further rethought by AIC's President and other members of the Bukhamseen Group Holding; therefore, entrusting the company with the additional principal objective of becoming the investment arm of the Bukhamseen Holding Group. To that end, the Group's investment activities, then spread across its holdings, became centralized under AIC. Furthermore, members of the family became AIC's shareholders, as the best way for preserving the Group's interest. Clearly, our investment strategy changes according to market developments, but is always based on high-efficiency plans and the safeguard of invested principal. We generally avoid speculation, and rather focus on robust assets with strong fundamentals in specific promising sectors. To date, AIC is operating as a knowledge-based, growth-oriented investment company with the main task of securing the integrity of invested assets and achieving profitability of investments. Currently, it is a boutique investment firm, with sizeable assets under management. Its clients' base encompasses a large number of companies representing several sectors and high net worth individuals. Earning clients' trust was, and still is, AIC's first priority.

What type of clientele does AIC normally work with, and what type of investor would benefit from your expertise?

Primarily, AIC clients are our family members; investing with us either in their personal capacity or on behalf of the companies they are heading within the Group. We also service a broad base of corporate entities and high-net-worth individuals. AIC is a boutique investment services company, whose main attributes are to be knowledge based and growth oriented. Its clients are market knowledgeable investors who go by merit-based decisions.

What role do you envisage AIC playing in Kuwait's economic future?

Since its establishment, it has been imperative for AIC to maintain a strong presence by building up confidence so as to be able to do more for the economy in Kuwait. Looking forward, our role in Kuwait's economic future will stem from our typical mission as an investment company. Our services encompass advising and assisting companies and individuals in market transactions and corporate development. Worth noting is that our corporate finance services always represent a substantial part of our core activities. Our services in this regard encompass mergers and acquisitions, divestures, business valuations and feasibility studies, due diligence, investment review and fairness opinion, capital raising, financial restructuring, and so on, therefore resulting in stronger companies in the State of Kuwait. Added to this is AIC's participation in local and cross-border markets, both at its own corporate level, and on behalf of its clients. We shall continue strengthening our position in local and international markets in what best serves the Kuwaiti economy. It is through these undertakings that AIC plans a wider participation in Kuwait's economic future.

What opportunities do you see for growth in the GCC region?

There are some countries that we seek to invest in and believe are poised for a great future. On the other hand, we seek to divest our positions in other countries where opportunities for gain have eroded. Between both extremes, there are countries where we decided to hold our investment as we foresee an impending market rebound. There are positives to working in GCC countries. In general, our preferences change depending on the sector and the country. In the UAE, we prefer working as a local investor in sectors such as insurance, hospitality, and real estate. In other places, we prefer to be invested in diversified and well-managed companies. Saudi Arabia is a good country to do business in, because of the size of the population, and the presence of economies of scale. We also favor Oman and are studying investment opportunities there. Expanding outside of the GCC, we are looking at Egypt and Turkey. As for Iraq, it is a big market, but still has many unsolved issues.

What are your expectations for 2016?

We anticipate fewer challenges than in the past few years. We also tend to believe that it will be a very busy year. We will be engaged in building up liquidity, and bringing growth into effective action, namely expanding our presence by opening new markets at the regional level, and increasing our scope of activities, with particular emphasis on generating innovative collective investment schemes. On the macro level, following the legislative approval earlier in 2015 of the broad investment plan for the coming five years (2015-20), as well as the 2015-16 capital spending budget rising notably, it is expected that a solid pace of growth will be driven and supported by public spending. This will pave the way for companies such as AIC to profitably apply their capabilities.

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