BAHRAIN. Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, this week approved the establishment of a BD500 million (US$1.4 billion) holding company. The company will be responsible for directing and regulating government investments in the tourism sector.
"The move came in line with directives from HM the King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister and the government of Bahrain to enhance the base of shareholding in national investment projects for individuals in companies and investment projects," the Ministry of Finance and National Economy has said.
It is believed that the establishment of the new company will be the advent of a new era related to the management of government sectors in various economic sectors, starting with the tourism sector in a way that will maximise economic and social benefits for shareholders.
The new company also aims at achieving to the utmost degree coordination and integration between tourism companies and projects in the Kingdom in which the public sector is partner with the private sector and have shares in various, different projects.
In the new un-named company, the government will hold a 40% stake, representing government shares in tourism companies and projects with a value of around BD100 million whereas 60% of the shares of the company will be traded on the Bahrain Stock Exchange. The value of the 60% is BD150 million. "With a vision to enhancing the role of the private sector in the economic and social development drive, the private sector will take care of the management of the new company. It is also considered to involve an international leading specialised company to make use of and benefit from its expertise," a Ministry spokesman said.
The Ministry has already defined a system and mandate in terms of the principal priorities of the new company after a detailed study based on the experiences of the country in the way to enhance the efficiency of the tourism sector in the Kingdom and to update it in line with developments taking place in international markets. The government shareholding in the tourism sector has demonstrated a positive performance during the last year which was reflected in assets of such shares reaching BD100 million.
The projects the government represents are Durrat Al Bahrain, Bahrain Golf International Company and Lulu Establishments, Al Areen Resort, the company for the development of the Southern region, Bahrain Family Leisure Company and a company for tourism projects and company for Seef Properties. The Ministry is working on the establishment of the new company in coordination with other related companies.