Dubai Int’l Cap: Crisis Could Boost Gulf Influence

Dubai International Capital (DIC), an investment firm owned by the ruler of Dubai, urged Gulf Arab investors to boost their influence in global business by seizing bargains amid the financial crisis.

“To become the largest shareholders in the 10 largest companies in the world…[for] US$50bn…that’s actually not a lot of money,” chief executive Sameer al-Ansari told a business conference in Dubai on Tuesday.

“Imagine the power and influence this region would have if we were the shareholders in the 10, 20, 30 largest companies in the world.”

DIC, an investor in Sony and EADS, manages about US$13bn in assets.

Gulf Arab funds and investment vehicles have lost billions in the financial crisis through stakes in top Wall Street firms, making them more reluctant to spend on cheaper assets until the market hits the bottom.

“Timing is going to be absolutely crucial, but I am still not comfortable with the kind of big bets we (DIC) have taken traditionally,” Ansari said.

Ansari said he saw opportunities in the next 24 months without being specific.

“Given the crisis that we are in, the governments in the region have to use their money wisely … that means investing in infrastructure and long-term projects good for the region and also to look outside (the region) to diversify, acquire, to buy strategic assets,” he said.