Bahrain wealth fund eyes possible McLaren IPO in 2-3 years

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Mumtalakat CEO says McLaren’s racing business has been doing “fantastically well”. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, which has a 60 per cent stake in McLaren, expects the British racing team and supercar maker to go public in two to three years, its CEO said on Tuesday.

“The racing team has benefited from the growth and viewership so that side of the business has been doing fantastically well,” Mumtalakat CEO Khalid Al Rumaihi said in an interview.

“The automotive side clearly has challenges, but we believe in the company and we think this will be a prime candidate, obviously not at the moment, but in two to three years for an IPO (initial public offering),” he said.

McLaren did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.

Mumtalakat, which has just north of $18 billion in assets under management, released its standalone annual results on Tuesday, which showed it swung to profit in 2021 from a loss in 2020.

The fund reported a profit of 45.6 million dinars ($120.96 million) for 2021, compared with a loss of 550.7 million dinars for the year 2020. It said the results were the fund’s highest earnings on an annual basis since it was established in 2006.

The fund paid dividends to the government, it said, of 20 million dinars as a contribution to the national budget.

Mumtalakat’s strong results were a result of the fund’s new investment strategy, which focuses on an active ownership model.

Results were boosted by its shareholding in Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) which recorded strong earnings last year on higher LME prices and higher production and sales from its line 6 expansion.

Mumtalakat owns about 69 per cent of Alba, the world’s largest aluminium smelter outside of China, according to information on the company’s website.

Rumaihi said a second listing for Alba on Saudi Arabia’s bourse, the region’s largest stock exchange, was being considered by the company among several other options.

“It is one of the initiatives they are looking at,” he said.

Mumtalakat said the lifting of travel restrictions resulted in higher ticket sales for its national carrier, Gulf Air, and that its principle associates National Bank of Bahrain and Bahrain Telecommunications Company continued to report strong results.

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