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Bahrain's Gulf Finance House confirm Tunis Financial Harbour build to start in January.

Construction work on Tunisia's first offshore financial centre has been tendered and is expected to start in January 2013, according to

Bahrain headquartered Gulf Finance House (GFH), the organisation behind the venture.

Bahrain investment bank GFH, reiterated in a statement, that it was firmly committed to delivering the Tunis Financial Harbour project, located

in the North African state's capital and reported to cost in the region of US$ 3 billion. It went on to say that build tenders had been issued in

the latter stages of 2012 and initial construction work on the massive project was expected to begin this month.

The statement on the subject was issued by the parent company of GFH Capital, possibly more as a clarification of comments made by acting

CEO Hisham Alrayes in a business newswire interview with Bloomberg. He was widely quoted in the press, as suggesting that the firm would

be actively looking for a way out of existing assets in India and Tunisia, in order to concentrate on top-end-return investments. The story running

as a result was that GFH and its clients would start to incrementally offload their stakes in the Tunis Financial Harbour project from 2014


Having recently acquired English npower Championship league football club Leeds United, GFH Capital said in its statement, that although the

strategic intention was to migrate managed client funds away from infrastructure projects, the Tunis offshore financial development would be

concluded as planned.

"GFH remains committed to the development of the Tunis Financial Harbour project; the tenders have been issued and the construction work

will commence from January 2013," the statement read.

Last October, a project progress meeting was convened between GFH and the Tunisian government, as little had been done to move the mutually

agreed development further forward. The financial harbour project will be made up of four distinct business segment concentrations, incorporating

an investment banking and advisory centre, a corporate centre, an Islamic Takaful and conventional insurance hub and North Africa's first ever

dedicated international financial exchange.

Commercial elements of the Tunis project will be supplemented by a variety of residential and leisure facilities, these are set to include a marina

and a residential complex, along with an 18-hole championship golf course.

Gulf Finance House only extricated itself from some previous financial difficulties relatively recently in 2012, having been forced to restructure more

than US$ 200 million in debt, in order to sanitise a balance sheet weighed down with US$ 2.3 billion in liabilities, as of 2008.

Copyright Andy McTiernan. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Andy McTiernan Property & Economy Bulletin
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Jan 13, 2013
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