Bahrain-based investment firm Arcapita opened an office in Singapore on Friday that it says will serve as its gateway to Asia, in the latest sign of expanding Gulf investments into the region.
The opening coincides with the substantial conclusion of negotiations Thursday between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Singapore for a free trade agreement.
Singapore has embarked on a strategy to broaden its trade, business and diplomatic ties with the Middle East, which it sees as a growth region.
Arcapita, which also has offices in the United States and Britain, will focus on investing in infrastructure and real estate in the next 18 months, and later on private equity, company officials said.
"We believe there is tremendous growth potential in Asia for our real estate business via investment in logistics and housing projects," said Arcapita chief executive Atif Abdulmalik.
"In Asia, I think you will see us focussing more, to start with, on infrastructure and real estate because they are easier to do. At a later stage we will definitely look into private equity and venture capital."
Asia's infrastructure sector looks promising as governments increasingly want private sector participation in large projects, he added.
Asim Zafar, the head of Arcapita's infrastructure investment, said the company is looking to invest in projects such as energy pipelines, roads and power generators.
"The need is tremendous, whether you look at China, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia. This will be a great focus for us," Zafar told reporters. (AFP)
Arcapita opens Asian base in Singapore