Qatar sovereign fund considers investment in Qatar Airways, state projects

Qatar sovereign fund considers investment in Qatar Airways, state projects
2 min read
30 November, 2017
Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, reportedly worth $330bn, is looking at injecting capital in projects closer to home as economic sanctions imposed by a Saudi-led group of Arab states continue.
QIA is trying to form a strategy to support many state organisations [Getty]
Qatar's sovereign fund, one of the world's largest, could invest in local real estate development Katara and national airline Qatar Airways, its chief executive said.

Doha reportedly holds $330 billion in a sovereign wealth fund, with assets heavily invested abroad, including London properties in Canary Wharf, the Shard and Olympic Village.

Now it is looking to invest in local projects amid a drawn out economic blockade putting a strain on its finances.

"Katara is in the pipeline and Qatar Airways could be the next one," the Gulf Times quoted Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) CEO Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani as saying in a speech late on Wednesday. 
Katara is a major real estate development in Doha which includes theatres, galleries and restaurants and venues.

Sheikh Abdullah did not clarify his plans for Qatar Airways. The airline is already owned by the government, so his comments may have referred to a fresh injection of capital into Qatar Airways, whose business has been hurt by the blockade.

He said QIA was trying to form a strategy to support many state organisations. 

"We will be supporting them financially, we will support them in their organisations, provide them human capital," Sheikh Abdullah was quoted as saying.

Qatar's economy has been hit this year by an economic boycott imposed by Saudi Arabia-led bloc of Arab states on Doha in June, which accused it of supporting "extremism" and being too close to Iran – charges Doha has denied.

The bloc has shut down air, maritime and land links with Qatar, and imposed economic sanctions.

But despite the spat, Qatar has announced several multi-billion dollar military deals with the US, Italy and Britain and analysts have predicted its stable financial situation can withstand the sanctions for many years.

Sheikh Abdullah referred to a "new strategy" for allocating QIA's money that allowed it to cope with crises such as the boycott and also to seize new business opportunities.

"This allows you to move your liquidity from one place to another," he said.

In the months after the boycott, the sovereign wealth fund deposited billions of dollars in Qatari banks to offset the impact of the other Arab states withdrawing money from them.

Last month, London-based agency Fitch Ratings said the threat to Qatari banks' funding and liquidity, triggered by withdrawals of foreign deposits, appears to be fading.

Qatari banks' overall funding increased slightly in August, the first upward movement since the blockade began in June, the Fitch report said.

Agencies contributed to this report