Middle East Money

The Middle East 'is a very stable region' for business, investor says

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on the country.
  • Growing tensions in the Middle East don't dampen the region's investment prospects, said Hazem Ben-Gacem, Investcorp's head of corporate investment for Europe.
Bahrain is a bridge into Saudi Arabia, says Investcorp exec

Amid concerns that President Donald Trump's decision on the Iran nuclear deal could escalate geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, an investment firm executive said the region, in fact, is "very stable" for doing business.

Trump on Tuesday announced he will pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reinstate sanctions on the country. Experts warned that Trump's decision could further strain Washington's relationship with a number of allies and increase risks in the Middle East.

But Hazem Ben-Gacem, head of corporate investment for Europe at Bahrain-based Investcorp, on Wednesday shrugged off concerns that the development could dampen prospects in the Middle East.

"If you look through history, whether it's 100, 200, 500 years, this region has had its own share of positive and challenging news. However, that has never stopped the region from growing and developing," Ben-Gacem told CNBC's Hadley Gamble at the Gateway Gulf Investor Forum in Bahrain.

"And that's what we find quite exciting: It is a very stable region to do business in and that's something very important as an investor," he added.

He noted that over the last two decades, the company has been able to "buy, manage and exit" its investments in the Middle East, which is "what any investor would like to see." Investcorp has more than $22.2 billion in assets under management and the company has been a major investor in the region, especially in Saudi Arabia.

But that's not to say the region's geopolitical developments have no impact on the company's investment decisions, Ben-Gacem clarified.

"Any major news which is reported, we really take a look at it from a global perspective: It will have as much of an impact on our businesses in Europe as it would with North America and as it would with Saudi," he said.