Unicorn acquires Bahrain Financing Company
Unicorn Investment Bank B.S.C. (c) (Unicorn) announces that it has reached agreement with the shareholders of Bahrain Financing Company (BFC), the oldest and one of the leading foreign exchange and remittance houses in the GCC, to acquire the company. The acquisition covers Bahrain Exchange Company in Kuwait and EzRemit in the United Kingdom. The Strategic Acquisition Fund, a financial services acquisition fund promoted by Unicorn and established in cooperation with a number of strategic founding investors from across the GCC, will take a significant stake in the acquisition.
Founded in 1917, BFC was Bahrain’s first foreign exchange company and the first financial services institution to be established in the GCC region. It is the market leader in foreign exchange and money transfer services in Bahrain. BFC has recorded consistent growth and profitability over the past several decades and has developed an extensive correspondent network comprising leading institutions in over 60 countries worldwide.
Commenting on the acquisition, Majid Al-Sayed Bader Al-Refai, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Unicorn, said: “We are very pleased to have reached agreement with the shareholders of Bahrain Financing Company and look forward to working with the company’s management and our strategic partners to further grow the company and expand its operations. As a longstanding market leader with a highly experienced and successful management team, BFC is well-positioned to take advantage of current industry developments to propel future growth.”
Meir Ebrahim Nonoo, Managing Director of BFC, commented: “The acquisition of BFC by Unicorn is a logical step in the evolution of our company and will position BFC for accelerated growth and expansion in the future. Our management team, headed by Ebrahim Nonoo, looks forward to working with Unicorn to bring further efficiency to our existing operations and to explore opportunities for product diversification and geographic expansion both within the GCC region and internationally.”
The agreement between Unicorn and BFC marks an important milestone in the history of one of the GCC’s oldest and most prominent family businesses and is likely to be viewed with interest by other family-owned businesses in the region.
Arif Rahimi, Managing Director of Masar Capital Partners, the Advisors to the transaction, commented: “Family businesses that proactively seek to find solutions to transitional issues and that embrace change and innovation in order to take their businesses forward are likely to have an easier time in adapting to inevitable changes. Masar is proud to have partnered with Unicorn to assist BFC in putting in place a foundation that will move the company firmly and confidently into the next stage of its evolution.”
Headquartered in Bahrain, Unicorn operates subsidiaries in the United States, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. The bank pursues an aggressive growth through acquisition strategy and has completed several acquisitions since its inception in 2004. Acquisitions are made either directly or through the Strategic Acquisition Fund, a US$1 billion fund that seeks to acquire strategic stakes in and manage commercial banks and other financial services institutions globally.