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QIA Investment Stratagy – Wikileaks 12, July 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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I’ve just stumbled upon, once more, Wikileaks’ treasure-trove of interesting bits and pieces. In addition to HBJ voicing his concern over the security situation in Yemen and the Qataris noting that they doubt that their electricity infrastructure could cope with a nuclear reactor in Qatar, there was also an interesting conversation related by the American Ambassador after a member of the Qatar Investment Authority’s executive board, Dr Hussain Al Abdulla.

While there was nothing new in the conversation to those that pay attention to these things, it was pleasing to see the policies codified in black and white.

  • An interest in ‘any commodities’ – gold, silver, oil, gas, agricultural products. This was based on a belief that there are long-term structural changes afoot in these markets suggesting price increases.
  • Business acquisition.  QIA is “not interested in distressed assets or distressed debt. We are interested in distressed sellers.”
  • Real estate in US and Europe, not Asia.
  • Beginning to invest in South America – particularly in agriculture.

Regarding QIA’s various vehicles, again, there was nothing new to see, but a brief summary-

  • QIA itself as an investment company for established enterprises
  • Diar (wholly QIA owned) focussed on development projects
  • Barwa – owned by QIA, to be privatised at some date
  • National Hotel Corporation – owned by QIA, to be privatised at some date

Qatar to buy (more) London institutions 16, November 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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The investment arm of Qatar’s Sovereign Wealth fund is reportedly seeking to buy three of London’s most prestigious hotels, The Connaught, The Berkeley and Claridges, for £1 billion.

It appears that the hotel’s parent group is currently seeking to refinance  $1 billion worth of debt, which QIA sees as an opening.

These London institutions would fit in well with Qatar’s burgeoning portfolio of blue-chip British investments which currently includes Harrods, the (soon to be former) US Embassy in Grovesnor Square, Canary Wharf, Chelsea Barracks, the Shard at London Bridge, shares in the LSE, Barclay’s Bank and Sainsbury’s to name but some of Qatar’s recent purchases.

Qatar first and foremost wants to make a profit from these ventures. And they have in the past, with Barclay’s being the best example. They clearly feel that the London market generally is currently relatively depressed and that there are bargains to be had. It is also a good sign for the health of London that such investors who could spend their money anywhere on earth continually return to London.

There are also notions of recognition and security. Were something catastrophic to happen to Qatar (as it did to Kuwait) then with all these ties being established, Qatar could rely on a (more) vigorous reaction from the UK in their aid…so goes the theory.

Lastly, I always think that banks, (extremely) high-end real estate like hotels and the like are targeted by QIA because ordinary Qataris can relate to them. Qataris are a rich bunch but still grumble from time to time that the government can be ‘wasting’ their money. So, if and when Qatar buys Harrods or the Savoy as was recently mooted, Qataris have a clear understanding of where their money is going.


Qatar to up their stake in Sainsburys 16, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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The Qatari Investment Authority (QIA) are reported to be about to up their stake in the UK supermarket chain J Sainsburys. News of this potential investment sent Sainsburys shares shooting up 17% despite a similar Qatari bid failing in November 2007 because of the credit crunch. .