In our latest From the Top interview, we talk to Mahmood H. Alkooheji, CEO of Mumtalakat. Mumtalakat is the government of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund.
Mumtalakat was established in 2006, at which point the government transferred all its assets and companies to Mumtalakat, including Gulf Air, Bahrain International, Bahrain Airport Company and more.
Alkooheji said: “We have established the Gulf Aviation Academy and other companies in the aviation sector.”
Last year, Mumtalakat established a holding group for all its aviation activities in Bahrain.
Aviation connects people
Alkooheji commented: “However, that has not stopped us looking around, because I think aviation is a very interesting sector. It’s a sector that is growing, despite what people say about profitability. It’s a sector that connects countries and people together. We have taken a very keen interest to find a niche in that sector, and we still continue looking. There are a lot of interesting opportunities in the aviation sector.”
On straddling public and government interests, Alkooheji said: “Really, you think how you’re going to answer for any decision before you take it. That puts the mode into making the right decision that could be easily defendable once everybody knows about it. I think that’s a really key factor of making successful [decisions].
Alkooheji said Mumtalakat sees the opportunity to invest beyond the Bahrain region.
For example, FAI Aviation Group, a Germany-based aviation services provider, is an associate company of Mumtalakat.
He commented: When Mumtalakat was established, we used to be something like 97% Bahrain in region concentration. Today, we are 28% Europe, 8% in the US and only 72% in Bahrain.
“We have really diversified. We have been investing into areas that are promising and growing [such as] education, healthcare and technology.”
“We think these are the future sectors, and they will bound to Bahrain, bound to benefit from the reward that we get from the investment and from the know-how and knowledge that we can offer and bring to Bahrain,” he said.