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An endless shopping binge

An endless shopping binge

The QIA just reportedly pumped around $150m for a stake in a UK-based property developer.

September 28, 2008 10:45 by

The Middle East’s sovereign wealth funds are continuing their buying spree, defying the downward spiral of the global economy. The Qatari Investment Authority (QIA) just taken a 20 percent stake in Chelsfield, a property company in the UK, which owns London’s Camden market, reports the UK’s Times.

While the deal price has been kept confidential, property sources believe the Qataris have invested around $150m for the stake, says the paper.

In February this year, QIA, which has stakes in Barclays and Credit Suisse, announced that it plans to spend around $15bn on European and US bank stocks over the next year.

Yet just last week, an executive from the wealth fund said that the QIA had rejected offers to help troubled Wall Street banks.

Apart from banking, the $60bn fund has investments in real estate, healthcare and engineering, and seems to be looking at diversifying further. Earlier this month, an affiliate of the authority pumped $65m into US electric carmaker, Fisker Automotive.

Currently, the QIA is struggling to deal with some of the debt-ridden companies that it invested in via Three Delta, its former British partner. The fund reportedly paid around $60m to sever its ties with the firm as it was unhappy with its early investments. A failed bid for supermarket chain Sainsbury last year had soured relations between the two.

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