UAE trading and investment firm Al Bogari Holdings optimistic on Sri Lanka’s growth prospects and opportunities
Farook Kassim, who is the Managing Director of Al Bogari Holdings, a Dubai-based trading and investment firm, is upbeat on Sri Lanka’s growth prospects and investment opportunities in both greenfield and listed equities, according to the Daily FT.
In Sri Lanka via the Investor Bubble, which he has hailed as a “very positive step, fantastic idea and a bold move by the Government,” Farook is reportedly exploring new investment opportunities in the upcoming Port City as well as the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).
“As far as the Colombo stock market is concerned, it is undervalued in my opinion hence it is attractive and we are looking at good buying opportunities of fundamentally sound companies,” Kassim, who is also the second largest individual shareholder in the Japan SG Holdings-controlled Expolanka Holdings PLC, which is enjoying a record year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been quoted as saying.
Farook has further identified tourism and real estate as high growth potential sectors of Sri Lanka provided the country becomes more investor friendly and pursues open policies, learning from the success of the United Arab Emirates where he has been living and growing his business for the past 46 years.
An old boy of Royal College, Farook migrated to UAE in 1975 when he and his uncle set up Al Bogari.
Today the company has investments in the UK, Singapore and South Africa apart from Sri Lanka and specialises in the trading of bullion globally and supplying to Lankan export jewellery industry as well.
“We are proposing a physical Gold Exchange in the planned International Financial Centre in the Port City and I have introduced Brink’s the premier provider of secure logistics and security solutions offering services in more than 100 countries worldwide,” Farook has told the Daily FT in a brief interview.
1859-founded Brink’s specialises in the secure transportation, handling and vaulting of precious metals and other valuables serving many of the world’s largest commercial and governmental organisations. Brink’s has appointed Leonard Perera as Country Manager for Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh.
Al Bogari works with Brink’s for its global business and the idea is for Brink’s to set up a high security vault in the Port City and serve its local and South Asian customers more efficiently. India is the world’s biggest market for gold and close proximity gives a competitive advantage for Sri Lanka as opposed to Indians going to Singapore or Dubai.
At present Al Bogari works with Amana Bank which maintains a security vault. Imported gold is stored and sold as and when needed at real time prices which saves working capital for the export jewellery industry.
Kassim was also of the view that Sri Lanka can learn best from Nepal as to how to develop the small-scale gem and jewellery industry with greater openness, simplified procedure ensuring better ease of doing business.
Whilst noting that Port City will be a fantastic investment opportunity, Farook was of the view that to make the Port City and its International Financial Centre a success, Sri Lanka must use the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as an example.
“Sri Lanka and the Port City can be a huge success if the right model is pursued along with open policies,” Farook has emphasised.
According to the news report, Farook also plays a key role in promoting greater Sri Lanka-UAE trade, investments and tourism. He was the founder member of the Sri Lanka Business Council in Dubai and Northern Emirates, set up in 1991 and formally registered as a business council in 2004 under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Sri Lanka’s attraction as a business destination is fast growing given the interest shown in the opportunities presented by the country by foreign business tycoons. Given Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country have made it an attractive business hub in the South Asian region. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
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