Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Qatar may buy more overseas assets: JLL

(DUBAI) Wealth funds of gas-rich Qatar are likely to make further global real estate investments as prices in countries such as Germany decline, Jones Lang LaSalle said in a report on Sunday.

The funds 'are likely to be emerging as the new powerhouse in terms of global real estate capital flows in 2010', Fadi Moussalli, regional director at Jones Lang LaSalle MENA, said in the report.

'Cash-rich and with a strong appetite for splashy overseas assets, Qatari vehicles have lately outshined their counterparts from the region and are projected to carry on with their rapid expansion across the real estate world,' Mr Moussalli said.

The International Monetary Fund expects the Qatari economy to grow 18.5 per cent this year, far above estimates for the rest of the Gulf Arab region. Harrods Ltd, owner of the London luxury department store, was sold to Qatar Holding by Mohamed Al-Fayed last month. The price was £1.5 billion (S$3 billion), said two people familiar with the transaction.

Qatar is the largest shareholder in Songbird Estates plc, which controls more than half the buildings in the Canary Wharf estate in London, J Sainsbury plc, the UK's third-biggest supermarket owner, and Barclays plc, the UK's third-largest bank by assets. It's also the second- largest shareholder in London Stock Exchange Group plc and has a stake in Volkswagen AG, the German carmaker.

'Their ability to compete in this market will be increased by the decline in investment from German open-ended funds, which were among the major global investors in 2009,' Mr Moussalli said.

The German funds are likely to make fewer acquisitions government relations tighter, he added. -- Bloomberg

Source: Business Times, 15 Jun 2010

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