* Planning 30 pct IPO on Saudi bourse by early 2014
* Says prefers real estate investment in US, UK
* Alkhabeer manages about $700 mln in assets
DUBAI, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Alkhabeer Capital, a Saudi
Arabia-based investment advisory firm, plans to offer new shares
worth about 30 percent of its capital in an initial public
offering (IPO) on the local bourse by early 2014, its chief
Alkhabeer, in which conglomerate Saudi Binladin Group is a
top shareholder, is awaiting the regulatory nod to initiate the
IPO process, CEO Ammar Shata said in Dubai.
The Jeddah-based firm, which manages assets worth around
$700 million, was formed in 2004 and raised about $210 million
in capital from more than 30 shareholders after receiving an
investment banking and asset management license from the Saudi
regulator, the Capital Market Authority (CMA).
"We are waiting for the signal from the regulator. The plan
is to go public by 2014 and a potential listing will not just
help us raise new money but also enhance our branding and public
image," Shata said on Wednesday.
Alkhabeer is bullish on real estate opportunities in the
United States and UK, Shata said, adding those investments offer
attractive returns for the coming 18 months.
The firm is working with investment management companies in
the United States to jointly develop real estate investment
trusts (REITs) to tap the opportunity, Shata said.
The firm has already invested $300 million in U.S. real
estate so far in 2012, he said, adding it plans to stay away
from equity-related investments in the coming year except for
some pre-IPO opportunities.
REITs can earn rents on leased properties and also capture
the operating income from those facilities by retaining
independent management for a fee.
"Real estate income-generating investments in the US and UK
is a great investment opportunity in the coming months," he
Asked whether the investment firm was looking to Asia and
other emerging markets, Shata said: "I think the right
opportunity today is in the UK and U.S. ... The reason the
Western world is advanced is that they correct their mistakes
quickly and they only make mistakes once."
The firm is also staying cash-heavy with about 30 percent of
the portfolio in cash, awaiting opportunities created mainly by
the Arab spring revolts, the executive said.
(Editing by David Holmes)