Mannai Corporation is planning to acquire a 51% stake in French IT services group GFI Informatique possibly for €290mn as part of its efforts to expand globally diversify earnings.
“In pursuit of new opportunities for growth and further diversification, Mannai made an offer in December 2015 to acquire a 51% stake in GFI Informatique, a French Public Company,” Mannai vice-chairman Sheikh Suhaim bin Abdulla bin Khalifa al-Thani told shareholders, on behalf of chairman Sheikh Hamad bin Abdulla bin Khalifa al-Thani.
Mannai’s bid has been accepted by the board of GFI and is presently awaiting regulatory approval in France, the vice chairman said in his address to shareholders at the annual general assembly meeting, which approved a cash dividend of QR5 per share.
The business of GFI will add a European dimension to Mannai’s business base and further improve the diversity of Mannai’s earnings stream, he added.
“Our portfolio of long-established businesses in Qatar and in the region plus the proposed acquisition in Europe will provide an enduring strength that will continue to underpin Mannai’s growth going forward,” according to him.
The company’s IT operations in Qatar and India provide an ideal ground for the French firm’s expansion into these markets, Mannai Corporation chief executive Alek Grewal told reporters on the sidelines.
The earnings from overseas operations have grown to 43% of the overall profit of the group in 2015 and the core business in Qatar continues to provide a solid base for the company and its plans for future growth, the chairman said, adding there was particularly strong growth in its core business in Qatar, which delivered 57% of group profits with IT business in Qatar recording an outstanding year and achieved a record performance.
Damas delivered the largest individual profit contribution, even though business in Damas was impacted by the general slowdown in consumer retail spending and the sharp decline in Chinese and Russian visitors to Dubai. The market penetration of Damas in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) remains robust, and an increased number of customers were served in 2015, but at lower spending levels, he said.
Highlighting that the strength of the Qatar economy and Mannai’s participation in infrastructure projects drove the growth in the local business; he said “once again the sound and stable economic environment in Qatar provided a firm base for the continued development of our business.”
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