The National Investor Sheds Staff

The National Investor, an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm, has cut more than half of its workforce and plans to shed more staff, Reuters reported Monday. The firm, which has private equity, investment advisory and asset management businesses, is attempting to reduce costs, Reuters wrote.

(Reuters) – Abu Dhabi-based investment firm, The National Investor (TNI), has shed more than half of its workforce and is planning more job cuts in a bid to reduce costs in response to tough financial markets, several sources told Reuters on Monday.

Like a number of rival Middle Eastern investment firms, TNI is struggling to boost revenue and remain profitable in depressed capital markets post the global financial crisis.

TNI, which operates in private equity, investment advisory and asset management businesses, had the first round of layoffs last year reducing its workforce to the current level of around 55 people the sources told Reuters.

“The latest round of redundancies began last week with more expected. Most lay-offs are in investment banking and equities,” one source familiar with the matter said.

The company blamed “restructuring efforts” for headcount reductions, the sources said.

TNI officials declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

TNI’s board wants the firm to break even and is cutting jobs to offset the lack of revenue growth, the source said speaking on condition of anonymity.

Privately owned TNI’s revenues declined 13 percent to 161.9 million dirhams ($44.1 million) in fiscal year ending 2010-11. Net profit plummeted to 2.2 million dirhams versus 30.8 million dirhams the previous year.

The firm had advised on initial public offerings of companies such as Aldar Properties amd Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

TNI’s investment banking business has been sluggish as mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings (IPOs) show no signs of recovery in the short term, the firm said in its latest annual report. The firm has advised on IPOs of companies such as Aldar Properties and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

The firm also divested its equity interest in a brokerage business and is in the process of divesting its equity interest in one of its proprietary portfolio companies, expecting to complete the sale during financial year 2011-12, TNI said in the report.

TNI is also in the process of liquidating its business in Saudi Arabia and plans to shut down its Riyadh office “in the interests of cost control and conserving cash during the liquidation process,” the annual report said.

Dubai-based investment firm Shuaa Capital made significant layoffs as part of a drive to cut costs. Two of Kuwait’s largest investment firms, Global Investment House and Kipco Asset Management Co (KAMCO) have slashed nearly 100 jobs, sources told Reuters last month. (Editing by Dinesh Nair and Erica Billingham)