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DOHA: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) investment in abroad has reached QR163.8bn in 2012. The country’s 2012 foreign investment is $32bn higher than the previous year, Al Sharq reported.
Apart from the Arab region, Qatar made major investments in Singapore, France, UK, Italy, Switzerland, the US, Vietnam, Iraq, Netherlands, Turkey, Bulgaria, Germany, China and Malaysia in 2012. Qatar invested in a wide range of sectors in 2012, including in hotels, resorts, petrochemicals, power plants, oil companies, banks and financial institutions, fashion, mining, media and communications, roads, transportation and sports in these countries.
“Compared to the previous year, Qatar’s foreign investment this time was really fast-paced and it grabbed the potential opportunities in real time. All their key investments were made after well-calibrated assessments”, Al Sharq quoted local business analysts as saying.
Qatar seems to be looking for long-term benefits rather than short-term yields. A careful analysis of Qatar’s 2012 investment strategies show it was not after market speculations, said Nasser Suleiman Haidar, local business analyst.
An interesting aspect of Qatar’s 2012 foreign investment strategy is its foray into the media and communication sector. Qatar Holding acquired stakes in two key French media companies during the year.
Qatar’s 2012 buying spree started with making a significant stakes in the hospitality sector, both in Paris and Singapore in January. In the same month, it sealed a major deal with Vietnamese petrochemical plant. In February, the Qatar Holding, the foreign investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), bought the headquarters of the Swiss banking Group Credit Suisse in London and re-leased long-term contract that runs until 2034. This is in addition to increasing its stake in a Spanish company during the same month.
Qatar went on a buying spree in France during the month of March 2012, including in its financial sector, media, sports, fashion and luxury segments. Increasing its stake in the Swiss mining giant Xtrata was Qatar’s another major 2012 foreign investment.
QNB, 50 percent owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, acquired 49 percent of Libya’s Trade and Development Bank in April. In the same month Qatar Holding acquired a portfolio of four luxury Hotels in Italy. Qatar struck another major deal with American jewelry designing company Tiffany in April. On April 23, 2012 QNB Group raised its stake in Iraq’s Investment Bank Al Mansour.
In May, Qatar closed an estimated $11bn deal with the global oil giant Shell. Qatar joined the tripartite pact with Turkey and Bulgaria in the construction of a highway project that links Bulgaria and Turkey, was another major deal of the month. Again in May, Qatar made a jey stake in Siemens, one of the largest German companies in terms of market value.