International Investment Bank (IIB), a globally focused investment bank based in the Kingdom of Bahrain operating in line with Shari'ah principles, announced the third year consecutive dividend distribution to its investors in IIB Automotive Ltd (IAL).
IAL owns an equity stake in ARTES, a company based in Tunis, Tunisia. ARTES is a listed company on the Tunis Stock Exchange and is the exclusive distributor of Renault, Nissan, and Dacia automobiles and their spare parts in Tunisia. ARTES has been extremely successful in expanding its automobile fleets in Tunisia, despite the depressed global economic climate. This is a strong testimony to the company's operating strategy and underpins the medium to long term potential of the company. This expansion has significantly increased the number of cars sold and the profitability of the company.
IIB and its investors acquired the equity stake in ARTES in March 2008; it was IIB's first investment both in Tunisia and in the car distribution sector. The ARTES IPO was one of the largest in Tunisia and was over subscribed more than ten times. Today, ARTES exhibits a significant, robust and increasing car market share in Tunisia. The company's financial position is excellent as evidenced by its very strong liquidity that will not only support its organic growth but also the further acquisitive forays that it makes in the automobile sector.
Commenting upon the performance of one of IIB's strong investments, IIB Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Aabed Al Zeera stated: "As a natural outcome of the strong operating growth, ARTES has delivered steady dividends over the last three years. In the backdrop of the lackluster performance of the automobile industry, in particular, and most of the broader economies of the developed countries, in general, this consistent dividend track record is indeed worthy of note."
Mr. Al Zeera further added: "IIB is a strategic partner of ARTES and maintains a long term investment horizon in respect of ARTES. Market conditions in Tunisia are getting more and more attractive as the country is opening up to foreign investors. The ongoing mega projects, in particular in the real estate sector, are believed to spur economic growth and will have a positive impact on the automotive sector. Renault has a long history in Tunisia and has been one of the most successful market brands there. Meanwhile, IIB is looking forward to announcing further investments in the near future in Tunis."