Gulf Finance House (GHF), a Bahrain-based financial investment group, is reportedly in talks to acquire two asset management firms for $500m.

In addition, the firm plans to issue fresh debt to finance the deals in order to build a diversified financial group, the firm’s CEO Hisham al-Rayes told Reuters.

Rayes said that the GHF intends to buy established regional companies instead of new business lines in a move to develop a wider wealth management platform.

The first acquisition is anticipated to take place in the next three to 12 months.

"They will be focused entities in mutual funds and asset management with their own set of clients and funds. Currently we are talking to two entities and the transactions would be in the range of $150m to $250m per transaction.

"We are in a growth phase with plans to undertake some acquisitions. In light of that, we are therefore planning to increase our leverage. Presently our debt-to-equity ratio is only 0.3 to 1, versus the industry norm of 1 to 1," Rayes added.

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Also, the investment firm is launching a new strategy following several debt restructurings. The firm now has about $190m of long-term debt, including two Islamic syndicated loans as well as Islamic bonds, or sukuk, which mature in 2018.

Moreover, GFH is planning to increase its stake in Islamic lender Khaleeji Commercial Bank to consolidate its financials at the group level.