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30 / 11 / 2008

Seera Successfully Concludes Us$200M Acquisition of Bwa Water Additives

(Manama, 30 November, 2008) – Following the successful completion of its leveraged acquisition of UK-based BWA Water Additives, a team of senior management of Seera Investment Bank, a Shari’a compliant Bahrain-based investment bank (formally UIB), concluded a visit to the company’s headquarters in Manchester where a number of high level meetings were held with BWA’s executives and a comprehensive overview and a strategic roadmap of this venture were effectively formulated. Seera considers the acquisition of this leading water treatment solutions provider as a strong addition to its existing portfolio.

The breakthrough transaction was financed by Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC , with mezzanine financing provided by RBS Equity Fund. The acquisition brings into Seera’s fold a dominant niche player with high growth dynamics and strong cash flow characteristics in a non-cyclical sector, making Seera one of the first investment banks in the GCC to have a presence in the burgeoning water treatment market.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mr. Asaad Albanwan, Chairman of Seera Board, said: “BWA is a global leader, providing innovative and effective water treatment solutions. This acquisition will help Seera establish a presence in this important space and we look forward to exploiting the synergies of both Companies to gain a competitive advantage. Global demand for specialty water treatment chemicals will experience significant growth over the coming years and we feel very positively about investing in this sector.”

Welcoming the strong addition to the Seera portfolio, Mr. Abdulla Janahi, Seera’s General Manager and Acting Chief Executive Officer, said: This transaction is highly significant given the fact that leveraged finance is going through turbulent times. The level of leverage we were able to secure was at the high end, illustrating the very positive support that Seera and BWA as a Company received from the banking industry. BWA’s growth prospects are tremendous in a region like the Middle East, where considerable investments in water infrastructure are forecast to mitigate the growing supply-demand imbalance. The company already has a leading presence in the desalination sector. Its specialized process know-how and intellectual property base, backed by pioneering in-house research, give it a leading position in the water treatment market. This is a market that is resistant to market cycles BWA’s prospects, therefore, remain extremely buoyant, given its strong financial fundamentals.”

BWA presents an attractive business model with high operating cash conversion cycle and low asset intensity. With 35 years of market leadership in developing and marketing high performance chemicals for water treatment, BWA has an established presence in a market that deters new entrants with high regulatory barriers, high entry costs and specialized know-how requirements.

The Company has a well-developed portfolio of high performance branded products to meet the requirements of 370 customers in 85 countries. The portfolio covers three high growth segments: water desalination, industrial water treatment processes and secondary oil recovery. The company’s products are used to treat microbiological growth in process water and to control and prevent corrosion of iron and steel as well as inorganic deposits on the surface of pumps and pipes. It constantly upgrades its products through research conducted at its two laboratories in the UK and the USA.

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