By Bernardo Vizcaino
MANAMA, March 4 (Reuters) - Alkhabeer Capital, a Saudi Arabia-based Islamic investment and advisory firm, plans to expand its discretionary management business and apply for a listing on the Saudi stock exchange later this year, its chief executive told Reuters.
The company was founded in 2004 as an advisory firm and made the transition to investment firm in 2008, initially focusing on real estate and private equity transactions, although it is actively developing its capital markets business.
"It is going to be our main business in the coming five years...It will be no less than $3 billion in assets under management," chief executive Ammar Shata said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Bahrain.
Jeddah-based Alkhabeer held 2.49 billion riyals ($664 million) in assets under management at the end of 2013, a 52.1 percent increase from a year earlier, its latest financials showed.
The firm is preparing an application for a listing on the Saudi bourse, which is to be submitted before the end of this year, complementing a planned overseas expansion.
"We will go with the minimum which will be 30 percent of our capital," said Shata, adding that the firm was planning to have an office in the Dubai International Financial Centre with Africa further down the line.
"We are also looking to expand later on in Africa - there is no specific date but definitely Morocco is in our targets in the coming three to five years."
Alkhabeer, in which conglomerate Saudi Binladin Group is a top shareholder, has also increased its investment activities in the hospitality and specialised healthcare sectors.
It made two acquisitions last year and is plannning another later this year, seeking a majority stake of between $50 million to $150 million in a healthcare provider, said Shata.
The firm paid a 5 percent dividend to shareholders last month, the second time it has paid an annual dividend, with plans to continue such annual distributions at a minimum 5 percent in coming years, he added.
In December, the firm launched a venture capital unit that focuses on start-up firms in sectors including mobile communications, e-commerce and social media.
(Editing by Andrew Torchia) ((Bernardo.Vizcaino@thomsonreuters.com; Telf: +9715 6655 7225; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))
Keywords: ALKHABEER CAPITAL/