Gulf Finance House buoyed by Standard & Poor's 'bbb-/a-3' rating affirmation
Gulf Finance House, the leading Middle Eastern Islamic investment bank has had its BBB-/A-3 rating affirmed by international credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P). The rating affirmation was attributed to GFH's good financial performance, adequate liquidity, sufficient capitalization, as well as its low and flexible cost base. This rating comes as GFH posted its 2008 year end profits of US$ 291 million. S&P also noted that relative to its peers, GFH assets are less subject to marked-to-market deterioration.
The ratings affirmation comes against the backdrop of a challenging global economic environment and underlines the durability of GFH's diversified business model and prudent management of risk and liquidity. While GFH's core business and one of its strengths has traditionally been focused on economic infrastructure initiatives across the GCC, Asia and North Africa, the past year has seen the development of a diversified product range in venture capital, private equity, asset management and the origination of specialist Islamic financial entities.
Even though Standard & Poor's has revised GFH's outlook from stable to negative, this change is driven by the operating environment and reflects the turmoil across financial markets - common to all institutions globally. The fact that the bank’s long term and short term ratings are affirmed despite a trend of downgrades released by several credit agencies relating to financial institutions across the globe is a further reflection of the robustness of the bank’s position.
GFH Deputy CEO Mehran Jamsheer commented today saying, "Standard & Poor's affirmation of GFH's rating confirms our own view that we are well placed to weather the economic downturn. Alongside our economic infrastructure initiatives, diversified capabilities across venture capital, private equity and asset management provide us the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions. In the year ahead we anticipate an opportunistic stance to capitalize on undervalued assets throughout the region."