For a small country, Qatar sure is busy lately. Here’s the latest on big projects connected to the UAE’s friend across the water.
October 19, 2010 1:50 by Eva Fernandes
In the past week, you could hardly scan through the business section without spotting a report or two about the latest investments and deals made by Qatari companies. Kipp decided to take a quick look at some of these developments and how Qatar is involved:
Spain’s Banco Santander
Qatar Holding, the strategic investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), signed off on a Dh.9.9 billion deal in which they secured a 5 percent stake in the Brazilian banking unit of Spain’s Banco Santander.
Dr Hussain Ali al Abdulla, the vice chairman of Qatar Holding, told the National, “This acquisition accomplishes our objective this year of increasing our exposure to fast-growing emerging markets like Brazil, after our earlier investment in China during the summer (…) this will further diversify our portfolio’s geographical coverage, this time to Latin America.”
Banco Santander is not the first bank Qatar Holding has invested in; this July it bought a more than $2.8bn stake of the Agricultural Bank of China.
Qatari Diar announced last week it has signed an $80 million deal to build a tourism complex in Tozeur, a city in southern Tunisia. The complex, which is said to include a hotel and a shopping mall, will be completed within two years.
Argentinean and Ukrainian farmland plans
According to Reuters, Qatar is in preliminary talks with the governments of Argentina and Ukraine to buy farmland for cereals production. Qatar, which is dependent on imports for its food supply, is said to be considering alternative options to increase access to food and water resources. The attempt to secure food supply is said to be worth “$100 million-plus each”, Mahendra Shah, director of Qatar National Food Security Programme, told Reuters in an interview.
Mazaya Qatar signs Dh1 billion deal
Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development just signed a Dh1 billion deal to develop and manage the Marina Mall in Lusail, Doha. The two floored Marina Mall will be strategically located amongst the Ne Marina and yacht club and will be surrounded by hotels, offices, commercial units, a cinema and an aquarium.
Increased Qatari interest in London property is another trend that can be observed by flicking through the business section of papers. It can be seen most publicly in the 24 percent stake Qatar Investment Authority bought in property trust Songbird Estates; the same authority owns Qatari Diar, which in turn owns shares in London development projects Chelsea Barracks and the Shard Tower.
Qatar Investment Authority, or QIA, was founded five years ago by the government of Qatar, and has made a name for itself by investing in different assets including listed securities, property, alternative assets and private equity in all the major capital markets as well as the newer emerging markets.
Argentinean farmland and Brazilian branches of a Spanish bank aren’t the only interests Qatar has in South America. As Kipp reported a few days ago through its Reuters newsfeed, Qatar has sent a number of tankers containing liquefied natural gas towards Brazil in recent weeks. The Al Dafna, one of the world’s largest carriers, was reported as heading to Brazil a week ago. It’s thought to be the fourth tanker making the journey in a period of weeks. There were four deliveries in September, too, according to reports, up from just two in August.