I OVERVIEW OF M&A ACTIVITY2

Despite a severe global downturn since 2009, political and social challenges experienced by Bahrain in 2011 and oil production dips in 2012, the Bahraini economy has continued to consistently post positive growth.

While the Bahraini economy has continued to display considerable resilience throughout the recent period of depressed oil prices, the pace of growth was somewhat dampened in the second half of 2015. The headline real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for 2015 was just under 3 per cent. The oil and gas sector accounted for 19.7 per cent of Bahrain’s GDP in 2015. The non-oil economy continues to be dominated by three large sectors, namely the financial services, manufacturing and government services. The financial services sector accounted for 16.4 per cent of Bahrain’s real GDP in 2015. Manufacturing and government services made up 14.6 per cent and 12.7 of real GDP respectively. Growth in Bahrain is firmly led by the non-oil private sector, an important source of continuity in the current environment.3

The financial services sector plays an important role in Bahrain’s economy as the largest sector of the non-oil economy. As at 31 July 2015, Bahrain had a total of 403 financial institutions, including but not limited to retail and wholesale banks, Islamic banks, investment firms and insurance companies.4 The health of Bahrain’s economy is generally influenced by the pace and outcome of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, so it is essential to have an overview of the rate of M&A in the MENA region by way of comparison. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries form a central bloc of the MENA region. The MENA M&A market is led mainly by the GCC countries, with the key players being the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Announced M&A activity in the MENA region decreased by 13 per cent, from 104 deals in the third quarter of 2014 to 91 deals in the third quarter of 2015. Deal value also declined, from US$8.5 billion in the third quarter of 2014 to US$5.4 billion in the third quarter of 2015, a drop of 37 per cent.5

Geographically, MENA companies are sticking close to home, with four out of five of their top deal destinations being within the region, according to the Capital Confidence Barometer. The first quarter of 2016 saw a 43 per cent increase in domestic deal volume, rising from 21 deals in the first quarter of 2015 to 30 deals in the first quarter of 2016. In MENA, distressed asset sales are playing a more prominent role in dealmaking, largely because of a tightening of capital. Within many countries, governments are being given priority access to available capital, leaving less capital available to private enterprises, and particularly family-owned businesses. According to Phil Gandier, MENA Transaction Advisory Services Leader:

SMEs in MENA are being forced to take a hard look at their portfolios and shed any non-core assets in an effort to either shore up their balance sheets to weather any economic uncertainties or release cash to fund potential M&A activity. We are starting to see more portfolio review/optimisation initiatives than we ever seen in the MENA region and this will drive M&A activity [...] Going forward, we expect reservedly confident MENA executives to take a position of watchful waiting as they look for the US economy to pick up, seek more certainty in China’s economy, and await the outcome of the Brexit debate. Given that many of the regional CEOs report to boards in the US or Europe, these global factors will, at least in part, guide investment decisions in the months to come. However, family businesses in the region are likely to continue with their quest for strategic assets that meet their investment criteria. As such, we expect to see MENA’s $50b to $60b annual M&A market to continue unabated.6

Some notable M&A deals in Bahrain in 2016 were the US$1.1 billion acquisition of Denmark-based Icopal A/S by GAF Corporation from Bahrain-based Investcorp (announced on 25 January 2016);7 and the shareholders of the Gulf Hotels Group and the Bahrain Tourism Company approving a proposal for a 35 million dinar merger deal (announced on 3 February 2014).8

II GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR M&A

The Bahrain Commercial Companies Law (Legislative Decree No. 21 of 2001) (BCCL) sets out the general rules and procedures that apply to the merger of domestic companies. The BCCL provides for two methods of merger: acquisition or consolidation. In all cases, a merger in Bahrain must not result in a monopoly of any economic activity, commodity or product.

Under the BCCL, a company can be wound up into another company by transferring its patrimony to an existing company, or a merger can be effected by the winding up of two or more companies and incorporating a new one to which the patrimony of the merged companies is transferred.

In the case of a merger by way of acquisition, the merged company must pass a resolution approving its dissolution and proceed with an evaluation of ‘in-kind’ shares in accordance with the BCCL. The merging company then passes a resolution to amend its capital based on the result of the evaluation of the merged company. The capital increase is distributed among the partners in the merged company in proportion to their respective shares.

In the event of a merger by way of consolidation, each merged company must pass a resolution approving its dissolution. A new company is then incorporated in accordance with the BCCL. Subsequently, each merged company is allotted a number of shares equal to its shareholding in the new company’s capital. These shares are distributed among the parties in each merged company in proportion to their respective shares therein.

Regardless of the method chosen, notice of the merger must be published in the Official Gazette and in one local daily newspaper. Any creditor may object to the merger within 60 days of the publication of the notice. In such a case, the merger is not binding upon the creditor unless the creditor gives up his or her objection, a court rejects it, or the company pays or makes provision for the settlement of the debt of the creditor. If no objection is made within the 60-day period, the merger is effective towards the creditors, and the merging company is subrogated in all the rights and obligations of the merged companies.

Newly created Bahraini companies can be constituted with 100 per cent foreign capital (except for limited liability partnerships, which require that a minimum of 51 per cent be held by a Bahraini national). The only difference is that the contribution of foreign capital or foreign expertise to a Bahraini company is subject to approval of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

However, certain business activities are reserved for Bahraini nationals and companies such as trading, contracting, and import and export. Other types of activities are reserved for Bahrainis and GCC nationals, such as real estate services, rental, management of land and property (not including buying and selling, management of personal property or consultancy services), press, publication and distribution houses, film studios and management of cinemas and film distribution, land transportation of goods, persons and tourists as well as commercial agencies. Further restrictions are applicable in certain areas such as trade and retail where a minimum of 51 per cent Bahraini ownership is mandated.

III DEVELOPMENTS IN CORPORATE AND TAKEOVER LAW AND THEIR IMPACT

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), which is the regulator for M&A in Bahrain, published the Takeovers, Mergers & Acquisitions Module of Volume 6 of the CBB Rulebook, which came into effect on 1 January 2009 and includes general principles and rules applicable to takeovers and mergers. It applies where there is an acquisition or consolidation of control of Bahraini domiciled companies whose ordinary voting equity securities are listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE) and overseas companies whose primary listing of ordinary voting equity securities is on the BSE.

The general principles and more detailed rules are similar to the principles and rules of the United Kingdom Takeover Code. In summary, the key principles are:

  • a all offeree shareholders must be treated fairly and equitably;
  • b minority shareholders must not be oppressed, and rights of control should be exercised in good faith;
  • c information must not be made available to some offerees that is not made to all shareholders;
  • d offers must be announced only after careful and responsible consideration, and offerors and their financial advisers should be satisfied that the offeror can and will be able to implement the offer in full;
  • e offeree shareholders must be given sufficient time and information to reach an informed decision on an offer;
  • f disclosure must be full, prompt and not misleading;
  • g directors of the target must not take steps to frustrate a bona fide offer without prior shareholder approval; and
  • h directors of the target should appoint independent advisers in connection with an offer.

Furthermore, a number of countries in the MENA region have recently implemented effective risk management and corporate governance rules. Following this trend, Bahrain adopted a new Corporate Governance Code (Code), initially for publicly listed companies, which became effective on 1 January 2011. The Code incorporates many international standards, such as the independence of directors as well as training and constitution of audit, nomination and remuneration committees.

All joint-stock companies that are incorporated under the BCCL were required to abide by the Code by the end of 2011, or provide an explanation to their shareholders for not doing so.

The Code supplements the principles of corporate governance that exist within the Bahrain legislative framework, such as rules regulating the convening and holding of shareholders’ and directors’ meetings, the dealing in company shares and the establishment of best practices through the adoption of a UK Financial Services Authority-type principles-based approach to corporate governance. The Code requires all listed companies to explain non-compliance with a specific recommendation or rule in a comply-or-explain report to shareholders at annual meetings.

The Code includes interesting developments in the functioning of the board of a company. For example, no individual or group of directors should dominate the board’s decision-making. As for companies that call themselves ‘Islamic’, they are subject to additional governance requirements and disclosures to ensure that they are in fact following shariah principles. The directive provides that each such company should establish a shariah supervisory board of at least three shariah scholars who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with shariah principles.

IV FOREIGN INVOLVEMENT IN M&A TRANSACTIONS

The government actively promotes foreign investments in Bahrain in line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, a comprehensive economic vision for the development of the economy.

Although Bahrain’s economy is relatively overshadowed by the economies of its neighbours such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, it has the most diverse economy in the GCC, with high value-added sectors such as financial services, manufacturing and logistics featuring heavily in the economic mix. The government has sought to reduce dependence on declining oil reserves and encourage foreign investment by diversifying the economy.

The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2016’ report ranked Bahrain at number 140 out of 189 countries in the world for starting a new business, and ranked Bahrain at number 65 in the MENA region for ‘ease of doing business’.9 Bahrain continues to hold first place in the region in the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. The index assesses 178 economies based on multiple quantitative and qualitative factors in four categories, namely rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency and open markets. Bahrain is ranked 18th globally, but has been consistently recognised as the freest economy in the Middle East for the past few years. Bahrain’s core strengths lie in its fiscal freedom, financial freedom and trade freedom – all areas where Bahrain scores 80 or above (out of 100).10

Principal sectors open to foreign investment include health care, education and training. As mentioned above, companies can be constituted in Bahrain with 100 per cent foreign capital (subject to certain restrictions). Opportunities for foreign investment also stem from Bahrain’s programme of privatisation, which includes communications, transport, electricity and water, the ports and airport services.

The Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) is a high-quality 247-hectare business park that has been developed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce,11 and it was ranked among the top 25 best ‘future duty free zones in the world’ from 700 free trade zones worldwide in 2010.12 BIIP is an initiative developed by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to attract export-oriented companies in manufacturing and internationally traded services by offering incentives such as 100 per cent foreign ownership, zero per cent corporate tax (with a 10-year hiatus) and duty-free access to the GCC markets.

Further opportunities for investment in financial services have arisen from Bahrain’s recognition as a global centre for Islamic finance. For the second year in a row, Bahrain has been named the GCC’s leading Islamic finance market and second out of 92 countries worldwide according to the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector-Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Indicator. Bahrain is well on its way to regaining its reputation as a vibrant regional financial hub.

V SIGNIFICANT TRANSACTIONS, KEY TRENDS AND HOT INDUSTRIES

The insurance industry has progressed effectively during the past few years and has grown into a regional hub. The boom in Islamic banking and Islamic financial services has made Bahrain a very attractive destination for Islamic finance.13

The development of the insurance industry was also considered an integral part of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 strategy. Bahrain’s insurance market encompasses 151 insurance firms and organisations (as of February 2013), including 27 locally incorporated entities that are limited to offshore operations. There are 20 locally incorporated insurance firms in Bahrain, including two reinsurance firms and three retakaful firms, while foreign firms include 11 insurance firms. Evolving with the regional and local demand for shariah-compliant financial services, Bahrain’s insurance sector also incorporates six domiciled takaful and two retakaful firms. Other companies represent ancillary services such as insurance brokers, loss adjusters, actuaries, and insurance consultants.14

Total gross premiums in the Bahraini insurance industry grew by 2.1 per cent year on year from 210.5 to 214.9 million dinars in 2011, underpinned by a 31 per cent surge in engineering insurance along with a 10 per cent increase in medical insurance from 2010. Medical policies are increasingly being incorporated as part of the benefit packages that companies offer to employees. The outlook for the Bahraini insurance market and the GCC in general remains positive. Recent figures indicate penetration into Bahrain stood at 2.3 per cent in 2012 as compared to 2.2 per cent in 2011. The GCC average was a much lower 1.1 per cent in 2012. Across the region, penetration rates are well below the global average of 6.5 per cent. This, coupled with low insurance density, suggests an untapped market potential.15

Motor insurance was the single largest segment in the insurance market in 2011, largely due to the mandatory status of vehicle insurance. With 55.6 million dinars in premiums, the motor segment was responsible for 26 per cent of the gross written premiums. Long-term insurance was the second-largest segment with 48.9 million dinars in written premiums. It represented 23 per cent of total written premiums along with the highest retention ratio of 91 per cent in 2011, up from 69 per cent in 2010. The third-largest segment is fire, property and liability insurance (18 per cent). This product category recorded 8.4 per cent growth in total premiums to 38.6 million dinars in 2011. Finally, medical insurance, and marine and aviation insurance, accounted for 16 per cent and 3 per cent of the written premiums, respectively, in 2011. Other smaller segments comprised 14 per cent of the total gross premiums, and included areas such as miscellaneous financial losses and engineering insurance; the latter registered the highest annual growth of 31 per cent in 2011 compared to other segments. Growth in the Bahraini insurance market, and the increase in the number of takaful firms in recent years, has necessitated the development of a reinsurance and retakaful market. As of February 2013, there were four conventional reinsurance firms, along with two retakaful firms. Gross premiums and contributions from the reinsurance and retakaful industries increased by 8 per cent year on year, to 349.5 million dinars in 2011 from 323 million dinars in 2010. With significant growth of around 36 per cent, gross claims stood at 272.8 million dinars, according to the 2011 data published by the CBB.16

Licensed by the CBB in 2006, Hannover Retakaful Company was the first in its line of business to start operations in Bahrain, joined two years later by ACR Retakaful Company. The gross contributions of the two retakaful firms rose 10.3 per cent to 86 million dinars in 2011 from 78.1 million dinars the previous year. The retakaful industry accounts for 25 per cent of the total reinsurance and retakaful premiums and contributions.17

With regard to the manufacturing industry, a large and diverse domestic and expatriate workforce, excellent logistics infrastructure and an attractive investment environment have helped increase real manufacturing output by 90 per cent over the past decade. In 2012, the manufacturing industry constituted the third-largest sector after hydrocarbons and financial services, contributing 15 per cent to real GDP and 13 per cent to total employment. Non-oil manufactured goods comprised 20 per cent of Bahrain’s total goods exports.18

Hotels and restaurants, construction and real estate have been among the most dynamic sectors of the Bahraini economy in recent years. The government introduced legislation to improve the regulatory standards in the real estate industry that includes a formal tenancy registration process designed to better protect the rights of tenants and landlords, as well as legislation regarding development projects. In February 2015, the government announced plans to oversee the completion of various stalled real estate projects through the engagement of local and regional financial institutions. New projects include the 1.5 million square metres Ras Al Barr Resort reclamation project by PK Development Company. Located to the south of Durrat Al Bahrain, the mixed-use waterfront development will offer housing, hotels, retail spaces, a public beachfront and community facilities.19 A number of new facilities have begun operations in the hotel and restaurant sector, including the Rotana Hotel in Bab Al Bahrain.

VI FINANCING OF M&A: MAIN SOURCES AND DEVELOPMENTS

According to the Thomson Reuters’ quarterly investment analysis on the Middle East, M&A deals in the Middle East registered US$9.5 billion in the first quarter of 2015. The value marks a 152 per cent increase compared to the corresponding quarter in 2014. It is also less than half of the registered value in the last previous quarter, and the ‘best’ annual start since 2012. The highest quarterly value in M&A since the first quarter of 2011 was registered in the second quarter of 2014, when the recorded value of transactions was US$14 billion, up 250 per cent from the previous quarter.20

The fixed income market of Bahrain has seen significant activity in 2015. Apart from ongoing short-term issuance by the CBB, the first quarter of 2015 saw longer sovereign offerings, namely a 10 million dinar three-year sukuk-al-ijarah and a 250 million dinar 10-year facility. Both deals were significantly oversubscribed, at 321 per cent and 141 per cent respectively.

VII EMPLOYMENT LAW

Generally, the labour laws in Bahrain are very protective of employees, and employers are regularly faced with having to justify their decisions for dismissing employees.

The Bahrain Labour Law for the Private Sector, No. 23 of 1976, was repealed and replaced by the Bahrain Labour Law for the Private Sector, No. 36 of 2012 (Labour Law), which was issued on 26 July 2012 and which came into force on 2 September 2012.

The Labour Law regulates employment for both national and foreign employees and extends its application to domestic workers. Like the old law, it sets up a highly regulated regime of the employer–employee relationship, and grants various rights and protections to employees, including provisions relating to health and safety, compensation for work injuries and occupational illnesses, conditions of employment of juveniles and women, annual and sick leave, limitations on working hours, payment of overtime and end-of-service gratuity. The Labour Law builds on these rights, and is arguably even more pro-employee with the intention to create a better investment environment in Bahrain by aligning the practices and benefits for private sector employment with Bahrain’s public sector.

The Labour Law grants an additional 15 days’ paid maternity leave and an additional 10 days’ sick leave. Further, it grants 30 days’ annual leave regardless of the duration of service, unlike the old law, which granted all employees 21 days’ annual leave until the completion of five years’ service with the same employer, following which it granted 28 days.

The Labour Law, like the old labour law, applies as a matter of public policy regardless of the choice of law selected in the employment contract.

The Labour Law reinforces Bahrain’s efforts to reflect international standards, and it has aligned Bahrain’s domestic law with several of the Arab and international labour treaties to which it is a signatory. The Labour Law has removed the distinction between national and foreign employees, in that it no longer requires employers to consider making non-Bahraini employees redundant before Bahrainis and then nationals of other GCC countries.

In addition to benefiting the working environment in the private sector, the Labour Law facilitates much faster resolutions of labour disputes. Under the Labour Law, all labour-related claims must be filed with the Labour Office, and in the first instance such claims must be heard before a labour administration judge, who will propose a suitable amicable settlement. If no settlement is reached, the case will be referred to the High Civil Court. The High Civil Court will hear disputes on an urgent basis and make a decision within 30 days of the date of the first hearing. However, in practice the courts have not been able to cope with the volume of cases; therefore, labour cases can still take in excess of one year to settle.

Following a successful merger or acquisition, a major consideration is often the termination of the employment relationship of certain employees. The Labour Law has provided a specific process for redundancies, and requires the employer to notify the Ministry of Labour of potential redundancies at least 30 days before it informs an employee of his or her redundancy. Failure of the employer to notify the Ministry of the intended redundancies will make the dismissal unjustified, consequently doubling the employer’s liability to pay compensation for such redundancy.

The Labour Law also provides very clear guidelines on the calculation of the award of redundancy due to an employee who is made redundant. Under the Labour Law, there are two types of employment contracts: those of a fixed duration and those of an indefinite duration. If the employee is made redundant, his or her entitlement to compensation will be determined by the form of contract of employment he or she has.

If an employee’s employment is terminated without a valid reason, it is regarded as an abuse of right on the part of the employer, and he or she has to indemnify the employee as per the provisions of the Labour Law, which clearly set out the calculation for compensation available to employees in the event of an unfair dismissal.

Overall, the Labour Law implements tougher penalties, but to some extent removes the powers of judges to determine an employee’s entitlement to compensation. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Labour Law is an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to three months, fines of 500 to 1,000 dinars, or both. In the case of a repeat offence, the penalty will be doubled. Furthermore, under the Labour Law, if an establishment is wholly or partially transferred, the person to whom it is transferred is jointly responsible with the employer for discharging all the obligations imposed by the Labour Law.

VIII TAX LAW

There are no personal, corporate, withholding or value-added taxes applicable in Bahrain. There is no tax regime other than that imposed on entities directly engaged in the exploration or production of crude oil or other natural hydrocarbons, or in the refining of crude oil. Income tax is levied at a rate of 46 per cent of the income derived by those entities. There is no personal tax, except a municipal tax of 10 per cent on the monthly rental of residential and business property. In addition, a 5 per cent government levy on gross turnover is imposed on hotel services and entertainment. Customs (import) duties are generally levied at a rate of 5 per cent, but there are may items such as medicines, most food products, capital goods and raw material for industry that are exempt from duty.

There has been speculation as to whether corporate tax or VAT will be introduced in Bahrain or whether there will be some form of harmonisation of indirect tax across the GCC. Until further announcements are made that rule out the introduction of such taxes by individual countries or the wider GCC for a defined period, speculation in this regard will continue. In the context of double tax treaties, Bahrain continues to expand its network in this sector, and has signed the following double taxation treaties: the Bahrain–Czech Republic double taxation treaty, signed on 24 May 2011; the Bahrain–Sri Lanka double taxation treaty, signed on 24 June 2011; and the Bahrain–Georgia double taxation treaty, signed on 18 July 2011.

The Bahrain–Uzbekistan double taxation treaty came into force on 12 January 2011. Bahrain has entered into avoidance of double taxation treaties with several countries, notably Algeria, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen.21

IX COMPETITION LAW

There is no generally applicable competition law in Bahrain.

Restrictive practices and agreements are not regulated in Bahrain. However, an agreement is void when an obligation is undertaken for no consideration or for a consideration contrary to public policy pursuant to the Civil Law (Legislative Decree No. 19 of 2001).

However, there are some provisions in the Constitution and the Law of Commerce (Legislative Decree No. 7 of 1987) that deals with this aspect. The Constitution stipulates that any monopoly shall only be awarded by law and for a limited time. The Law of Commerce, which is applicable to traders and to all commercial activities undertaken by any person giving protection to the owner of a trade name and trademark. It also prohibits traders from resorting to fraud and cheating when marketing their goods, and further prohibits them from disseminating false or misleading information, or from using methods with regard to the origin or description of their goods or the importance of their trade or their credentials that might have damaging effects on their competitors or that might attract the customers of such competitors. It further prohibits a trader from inducing the employees of a competitor to assist them in attracting a rival’s customers or to leave their employment with a view to learning the secrets of their competitors. It prohibits any person engaged in the business of supplying information to commercial houses from supplying untrue statements about the behaviour or financial standing of a trader.

X OUTLOOK

Bahrain continues to be a major regional financial centre. This has been essential to the development of its economy, and the financial sector has come to play a significant role in economic activity and employment creation. The Bahraini economy is on the mend and, despite continuing political risk, at the time of writing the Bahrain Economic Development Board expects headline real GDP growth in 2016 to remain in line with the 2015 level, with the possibility of a slight moderation in 2017.

Footnotes

1 Haifa Khunji is a partner and Natalia Kumar is an associate at KBH Kaanuun.

2 All statistics and references in this chapter are derived from publicly available sources but have not been independently verified. The information in this chapter is correct as of May 2016.

3 Bahrain Economic Development Board (2016), ‘Bahrain Economic Quarterly March 2016’.

4 The Central Bank of Bahrain (2016) CBB Register: www.cbb.gov.bh/page.php?p=cbb_register (accessed 30 May 2016).

5 ‘Mena M&A activity declines 13pc in Q3’ (2015): www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_
294934.html (accessed 30 May 2016).

6 Amlot, M (2016), ‘MENA’s $50b to $60b annual M&A market expected to remain unchanged in 2016: EY’. Available at www.cpifinancial.net/news/post/35970/menas-50b-to-
60b-annual-m-a-market-expected-to-remain-unchanged-in-2016-ey (accessed 30 May 2016).

7 Gulf Digital News (2016), ‘Middle East mergers and acquisitions reach $4.7bn’. Available at www.gdnonline.com/Details/81759/Middle-East-mergers-and-acquisitions-reach-$47bn (accessed 30 May 2016).

8 Trade Arabia (2016), ‘Gulf hotels, Bahrain tourism company agree $92m merger’: www.tradearabia.com/news/TTN_306651.html (accessed 30 May 2016).

9 World Bank Group, 2016 ‘Ease of Doing Business in’: www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/bahrain (accessed 30 May 2016).

10 Bahrain Economic Development Board (2016), ‘Bahrain Economic Quarterly March 2016’.

11 Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Bahrain International Investment Park: www.biip.com.bh/default.asp?action=category&id=2 (accessed 30 May 2016).

12 Gulf Digital News (2010), ‘Top global honour for Bahrain Logistics Zone’: www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=280930 (accessed 30 May 2016).

13 Central Bank of Bahrain Financial Stability Directorate, (2015) Financial Stability Report February 2015.

14 Bahrain Economic Development Board (2013), Kingdom of Bahrain Economic Year Book 2013.

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid.

19 Bahrain Economic Development Board (2015), Bahrain Economic Quarterly March 2015.

20 Farid, D (2015), Daily News Egypt: ‘Mergers, acquisitions register $9.5bn in Q1 2015’: www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/04/13/mergers-acquisitions-register-9-5bn-in-q1-2015 (accessed 30 May 2016).

21 PKF (2015), PKF International Worldwide Tax Guide 2015: www.pkf.com/publications/tax-guides/pkf-international-worldwide-tax-guide-2015 (accessed 30 May 2016).