WH Ireland says Kuwaiti Investors Looking to Buy Stake

Kuwaiti Investors Looking to Buy Stake

Financial services company WH Ireland Group Plc said on Monday that Kuwaiti European Holdings Group (KEH) was considering buying a stake in the company, sending its shares up as much as 28.7 percent.

KEH was close to announcing an agreement to buy nearly 30 percent of WH Ireland shares, and may consider acquiring the London-listed company entirely, Sky News had reported on Saturday.

WH Ireland, which offers private wealth management, wealth planning and corporate broking services, did not provide details of the potential deal in its statement.

KEH, an investment company focused on property, health and leisure businesses, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The British stockbroker would not be the first to attract investment from the Middle East.

The majority shareholder in WH Ireland’s rival Panmure Gordon & Co is Qatari investment bank QInvest, with a 43.43 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data.

WH Ireland, which has a market capitalisation of 26.9 million pounds ($35.10 million) as of Friday’s close, was fined 1.2 million pounds by Britain’s financial regulator in February, for inadequate controls to prevent trading abuses.

The Financial Conduct Authority also banned the company from taking on new customers in its corporate broking division until May 4. The division is focused on small- and mid-cap companies.

Shares in WH Ireland were up 23.3 percent at 129.99 pence at 0725 GMT.

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