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19 May 2009

Kuwaiti giant eyes acquisitions in SE Asia

Kuwaiti conglomerate Al Ghanim Industries is looking at acquisitions, primarily in Southeast Asia, to help it diversify away from the Gulf region, where its revenues have been flat this year, Reuters quoted the company’s chief executive as saying Saturday.

Omar Kutayba Alghanim said the firm, with annual turnover of $2.5 billion, saw opportunities for long-term investments in Asia after asset prices fell during the global financial crisis.

"Right now, we feel a lot more assets are more reasonably priced so we are looking at acquisitions and multiple opportunities, primarily in Southeast Asia," Alghanim said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

Al Ghanim operates in sectors including construction materials, retail, automotive and financial services. "It's a market that is resilient, where the drivers for that economy are more sustainable. India and Vietnam are great markets," Alghanim said.

The Kuwaiti conglomerate would look to buy smaller stakes at first and possibly build those holdings with time, Alghamin said, adding the firm was not highly leveraged.

The company had recently opened a $40 million construction facility in Vietnam.

Alghanim said the firm has already shelved some new manufacturing projects in its traditional markets in the Gulf Arab region, because they were no longer feasible.

A six-year economic boom in the world's biggest oil-exporting region ended late last year as the credit markets tightened and a global recession pushed oil prices to as low as a quarter of record levels of US$147 a barrel last summer.







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