The Kuwaiti government’s largest investment firm has acquired a controlling stake in Fimbank.

Kuwait Projects Co (Kipco), through its subsidiaries United Gulf Bank and Burgan Bank (Bahrain) have combined to purchase 68.7% of the Malta-based bank’s shares, with United taking 43.7% and Burgan 25%. Kipco is one of the largest investment holding companies in the Middle East with assets exceeding US$25bn. United Gulf Bank, in a statement, said its stake in the trade finance specialist is worth up to US$125mn.

Fimbank’s president Margrith Lutschg-Emmenegger has told GTR that she expects the takeover to “increase Fimbank’s capability and standing in the market”.

She continues: “The planned capital injection which will enable Fimbank to expand not only our footprint further into markets in the Far East, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America which still have huge growth potential for factoring and receivable finance but also grow our commodity finance and structured commodity finance business substantially.”

Lutschg-Emmenegger also expects the investment will lead to Fimbank adopting more leasing and Islamic finance solutions. She adds: “We aspire to become the Kipco group’s trade finance centre of excellence supporting Kipco subsidiary and associate companies with our range of services. Fimbank will remain in headquartered in Malta and the headcount will increase gradually, probably reaching 300 to 400 within a few years’ time.”