Iconic Centerpiece of Bahrain Financial Harbour – 53 storey Dual Towers to open for business in April 2007
Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company (BFHHC) has announced that the 53 storey Dual Towers which is the iconic centrepiece of the landmark Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) and is located in the Financial Centre of the development, will be formally handed over for occupancy to tenants in April 2007, while fit-outs on these premises have already commenced. BFHHC also announced that Gulf Finance House (GFH) and Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB) have committed to an uptake of space in the ‘Financial Centre’, which is the phase I of the development.
The announcements, made on the sidelines of Cityscape 2006, closely follow similar commitments from over 35 key financial sector and retail companies including MENA Telecom, DHL and Aramex, and the unveiling of BFH’s entire technology blueprint.
As per the agreements, while GFH has committed to an uptake of nine floors in the Dual Towers of the Financial Centre, KHCB has committed to an uptake of two floors in the towers and additional space in the Financial Mall. Through this move both GFH and KHCB would be relocating their corporate head offices to BFH, with KHCB retaining its Zamil Tower offices in Bahrain as a branch office.
Commenting on the planned formal opening of BFH, Mr. Esam Janahi, Chairman, BFHHC, said: “The opening of the Bahrain Financial Harbour, one of Middle East’s foremost and most advanced financial centres, has been eagerly awaited. It thus, gives me immense pleasure to inform all stakeholders that the 53 storey Dual Towers which is the iconic centrepiece of BFH will formally open for occupancy in April 2007. Thus in the process converting what started as a vision, to create a contemporary yet forward looking integrated business district dedicated to meeting the needs of the exponentially growing financial sector, to reality. A clear demonstration of the stature of this project is its technology blueprint that was recently announced and is currently at the implementation stage.
“Furthermore, it also gives me great pride to inform all stakeholders that in the last one year this landmark project has successfully garnered substantial interest from around the world. A fact well demonstrated by the clientele that has signed on, the most recent of them being GFH and KHCB. Currently we are at advanced stages of negotiations with some of the largest and most well known financial institutions, details of which would be made public within the next couple of months,” Mr. Janahi added.
The Financial Centre consists of three components – Dual Towers, Financial Mall and the Harbour House. The Dual Towers will provide office and commercial space for the financial services industry while the Financial Mall is designed specifically for capital markets and will house brokerage and trading firms, quality retail outlets and cafes, as well as other leisure facilities.
Commenting on the commitments from GFH and KHCB, Mr. Stephen Rothel, Chief Executive Officer, BFHHC, said: “Central to BFH’s business model is the creation of an integrated world-class business environment for both regional and global companies in the financial sector who either have existing business or are looking at basing themselves in this region. The addition of Gulf Finance House and Khaleeji Commercial Bank, both quality organizations par excellence, to this rapidly growing roster of BFH tenants is in complete sync with this strategy. “
Established on 16 October 1999 in the Kingdom of Bahrain as an Islamic investment bank, GFH has a paid up capital of US $212 million and an authorised capital of US$ 300 million. At the cutting edge of the rapidly expanding international Islamic banking industry, the Bank’s commitment is to the Islamic Sharia’a philosophy of wealth management, and this shapes the structure and direction of its investment products. GFH is the first Islamic investment banks in the world to receive an investment grade credit rating A-3 (BBB-) by Standard & Poor and was also voted Best Investment Bank 2006 by Banker Middle East.
Commenting on the new head office and the move to BFH, Mr Peter Panayiotou, Deputy CEO, GFH said: “We are glad to announce that we have committed to relocate our head office to the landmark BFH. The agreement is a strategic decision articulated by the Bank earlier on. It is based on our strong belief that BFH, on completion, will emerge as the hub for the financial sector, especially Islamic Finance, in the Middle East and will offer tenants an ideal work environment complete with sector specific technologically advanced facilities.”
Established in November 2004 as Gulf Finance House Commercial Bank with a paid-up capital of BD 30 million, Khaleeji Commercial Bank is a niche Islamic private bank, headquartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain and operating under an onshore commercial banking licence granted by the Central Bank of Bahrain. KHCB is not only one of the youngest but also one of the fastest growing Shari’a compliant commercial banks in Bahrain. It recently reported an excellent financial result of BD 7.2 million for the second quarter of 2006, providing for an annualised return of equity of 25 per cent.
Elaborating on KHCB’s decision to move to BFH, Mr. Ebrahim H. Ebrahim, General Manager, KHCB, said: "BFH has already established itself as the primary financial district within Bahrain that will also have a definite positive impact on the region’s financial markets. It is thus imperative that Khaleeji Commercial Bank, which aims at being a leading domestic and regional Islamic Bank, locate its Head Office within this prestigious development. Furthermore, at KHCB we are also committed to ensuring the best work environment and facilities for our employees to ensure optimal productivity. The Bahrain Financial Harbour with its Waterfront location and technologically advanced workspaces and landscaped leisure and hospitality facilities is an ideal match for our requirements.”