For Sale

December 2011

Qatari Diar arrange to purchase Olympic Village

The Qatar Investment Authority [QIA], whose chairman is Sheik Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al Thani, is Qatar's sovereign wealth fund,  specialising in both domestic and foreign investment.

It wholly controls  the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company,  generally shortened and known as "Qatari Diar".

This property investment fund has its HQ based in Lusail, Doha, Qatar.

It was announced in London's Sunday Telegraph [ST] newspaper on December 11th 2011 that Qatari Diar, in a joint venture with Delancey, had exchanged contracts for the purchase of the London Olympic Village in Stratford, East London.

In 2013, after the London 2012 Olympic Games are over, the Olympic Village will be available as much-needed private housing for local people.

Some homes will be sold off, whilst others will be available for rent.

Top architects designed the eco-friendly, energy-saving homes. It will be a popular, first-class housing location.

According to the ST, in a joint venture, Qatari Diar and Delancey [known as QDD] have paid £557 million for their part of the Olympic Village, which is to be known as East Village, London E20.

As well as homes, East Village will also include more than 30 local shops, cafes and restaurants, a world-class education campus, and a medical centre.

QDD have further linked up with another company, Triathlon Homes, to initially provide 2818 homes in total on the Olympic Village site. Plus, there is room for substantially more housing development in future.

This increases Qatari Diar's substantial investment in London property.

Qatari Diar also owns large, top quality high rise developments on the banks of the Nile in Khartoum and Cairo

Khartoum, capital of Sudan, stands at the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile, forming, simply, the Nile, the longest and most famous river on Earth.

On December 5th 2010 QIA was part of the investment group that bought Miramax Films from the Walt Disney Company.

On May 31st 2011, QIA purchased 70 per cent of the capital of top French football club, Paris Saint-Germain in order to develop its presence in mainland Europe.

October 10th 2009

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Holding, stated in October 2009, that it has become the biggest shareholder in the company that owns much of London's Canary Wharf business district.

This demonstrates a renewed appetite by Arabian Gulf investors for property in well-established markets.

Qatar Holding has announced that it has increased its holding in the real estate company Songbird Estates PLC, to 24 per cent of the ordinary shares.

It said that its entire investment in Songbird now stands at more than £350 million pounds Sterling, or US$559 million.

Qatar Holding Chief Executive and Managing Director, Ahmad Al-Sayed  stated:"We are pleased to have taken this opportunity to increase our stake in an outstanding prime real estate portfolio with stable long-term income and high calibre  management."

Qatar Holding is the investment arm of the natural gas-rich Arab state's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, which was established in 2005.

Its holdings include stakes in European banks Barclays PLC and Credit Suisse Group, British supermarket operator J Sainsbury PLC and the London Stock Exchange [LSE].

The fund's stake in Songbird Estates includes participation in a debt financing deal for the property company. In exchange for the financing, Qatar Holding will have the right to further increase its stake in Songbird Estates at a future date.

Qatar Holding will also get three seats on Songbird's board of directors, and one on the board of Canary Wharf Group, of which Songbird will own nearly 70 per cent.

Therefore, Qatar Investment Authority  will have a huge  influence on  what has become one of London's leading financial districts. Ally that to the huge stakes in Barclays bank, Credit Suisse and the London Stock Exchange, and one can see that the Qatar Investment Authority is becoming a really big player in the London and UK financial sector.

Ahmad Al-Sayed commented "We believe the very positive response to the offering shows the improving sentiment towards U.K. commercial property in recent weeks, as well as the attractiveness of this transaction."

The Canary Wharf financial district in east London provides office space for several major banks, including HSBC and Barclays. Leading British newspapers also have their headquarters in the Canary Wharf district.

October 2009

The Middle East country of Qatar, located on the Arabian Gulf, has made a £600 million [Sterling] profit in October 2009 by selling a large chunk of shares in Barclays Bank. 

Qatar's state investment fund Qatar Holding, exercised half of the warrant [right to buy] that it held over Barclays Bank stock and sold a  £1.4 billion stake. 

The fund is following in the footsteps of Barclays other major Middle Eastern investor, Abu Dhabi prince, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed  Al-Nahyan, who has already booked a profit  of £1.5 billion due to the strong recovery in the bank's share price this year.

The two sovereign investment funds were the key backers of Barclays  £7.05 billion capital raising in November 2008. 

The bank came under fire at the time for turning to these funds  to raise extra money in the wake of Lehman Brothers collapse.

However, the move enabled Barclays to avoid a British government bailout and emerge from the crisis in a stronger position than many of its rivals. 

Qatar has also done very well out of backing the bank at a time of severe international financial crisis. Their investment at the time, was extremely important for the UK banking system and indeed, the whole British and world economy.

So we must all be grateful that Qatar and Abu Dhabi stepped in and were prepared to make a huge investment. The gamble has paid off in a massive way, to the mutual benefit of Qatar, Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, Barclays and all of Barclays customers and investors.

Things were looking pretty grim in November 2008!! Let's not forget that!!

Shares in Barclays Bank fell 18.3 pence to 363.75 pence on news of the  Qatar stake sale, but still much higher than the low of 55 pence in March 2009.

Qatar will remain the biggest shareholder in Barclays with  a 7 per cent holding. Barclays gets £750 million in cash from Qatar's  decision to exercise the share warrants.

A further stake is held in the bank by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani , a member of the Qatari Royal Family.

The Qataris are also the largest shareholder in Sainsbury, with a 26 per cent  stake.

This is held by the Qatar Investment Authority, which tried to buy Sainsbury's for £6 per share in 2007.

September 2008

The Chelsfield company, which owns Camden market in North London, has sold a 20% stake to the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for a sum of money thought to be less than £80million.

A spokesman for Chelsfield stated that the funds from the QIA would allow the group to capitalise on business opportunities as property prices fall.

Mr Elliott Bernerd, who co-founded Chelsfield with Sir Stuart Lipton, said:“The Qatar Investment Authority are long-term investors and we both believe that there are considerable opportunities that will become available due to the present market conditions.”

Chelsfield announced that the Qataris would gain two seats on its management board. Hussain al-Abdullah, executive board member of the Qatar Investment Authority, stated:“Property represents a core asset class for the QIA and our investment in Chelsfield offers a valuable opportunity to acquire further high-quality assets.”

Established to diversify Qatar's oil wealth, the QIA has spent billions of pounds in the London property market. In February  2008 it acquired a stake in Chelsea Barracks for £600million. It also owns a £1.6billion share in the Shard of Glass office development at London Bridge.

The QIA holds 27% of J Sainsbury, 8% of Barclays Bank, 15% of the London Stock Exchange and 15% of Songbird Estates, which has extensive interests in Canary Wharf.

The QIA, is thought to have more than $60billion (£33billion Sterling ) to invest. It is led by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, the Qatari Prime Minister.

Qatar, which has a population of fewer than one million, holds 1.3% of global crude oil reserves.

A spokesman denied that the Qatari investors had been brought on board as a response to the slide in the British commercial property market.