How Qatar is spending its billions

Qatar has again caught the global eye in the first half of 2012 due to its impressive array of international acquisitions. Arabian Business takes a look some of the biggest investments Qatar has made this year
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Name: BAA \nCountry: UK \nSize of stake: 20% \nValue: $1.41bn \nEntity: Qatar Holding \nDescription: Qatar Holding agreed terms to buy a 20 percent stake in the company which owns BAA, the UK-based airport operator, in a deal worth £900m ($1.41bn).\nSpanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial said it had reached an agreement to sell 10.62 percent of FGP Topco Ltd, the holding company which owns BAA, to Qatar Holding for £478m.\nAs part of the same transaction, Britannia Airport Partners and GIC have also sold to Qatar Holding shares equivalent to 5.63 percent and 3.75 percent respectively, making Qatar Holding’s total purchase of shares equal to 20 percent.
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Name: Native Land \nCountry: UK \nSize of stake: 45% \nValue: Unknown \nEntity: “investors linked to the royal family” \nDescription: Native Land is a London-based luxury property developer, whose pipeline includes NEO Bankside, on the UK capital’s South Bank. Qatari interests in London are already well-known – from the Shard to Harrods, and from Canary Wharf to Chelsea Barracks, Doha has invested heavily in the city.
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Name: Valentino \nCountry: Italy \nSize of stake: Full ownership \nValue: $857m \nEntity: Mayhoola for Investments SPC \nDescription: Qatar’s move to buy Valentino – completed just last month – marked the most significant purchase of a top European fashion house by any emerging market investor. The move follows Dubai-based Paris Group’s purchase of Gianfranco Ferre last year.
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Name: The Neo building \nCountry: France \nValue: $367m \nEntity: Unknown \nDescription: Neo – at around 23,000 square metres – is at one of Paris’ swankiest addresses, Boulevard Haussmann. The site hosts Le Figaro, France’s most famous newspaper, as well as the US embassy.
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Name: Number 52 \nCountry: France \nValue: $622m \nEntity: Qatar Investment Authority \nDescription: Number 52 – a flagship retail complex in the heart of Paris – was snapped up by the Qatar Investment Authority at the beginning of June. It is currently home to a Virgin Megastore, a branch of French retail chain Monoprix, a shopping arcade and offices.
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Name: Chicago Radisson Blu \nCountry: US \nValue: Unknown \nEntity: Al Faisal Holding \nDescription: After buying the W Hotel in London’s Leicester Square last year for $313m, Al Faisal Holding went Stateside in May. The firm is accumulating a portfolio of 25 hotels in prime cities around the world – a task it is hoping to complete by 2020.
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Name: Siemens \nSize of stake: 3% \nValue: $3bn \nEntity: Doha Insurance Company \nDescription: In May, Siemens confirmed via a regulatory filing that a subsidiary of Doha Insurance Company had now exceeded the 3 percent threshold in voting shares. This share has been built up over a period of time however. Elsewhere in Germany, Qatar holds a 17 percent stake in car manufacturing giant Volkswagen.
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Name: Royal Dutch Shell \nSize of stake: Between 3-5% \nValue: Estimated at $10bn \nEntity: Qatar Investment Authority \nDescription: Shell confirmed the QIA’s stake purchase in early May. Qatar and Shell are already close partners; the latter’s $18.5bn gas-to-liquids plant in the Gulf state is the most expensive energy project in Qatar’s history. \n
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Name: Damas \nCountry: UAE \nSize of stake: 78% \nValue: $445m \nEntity: Mannai Corporation and EFG Hermes \nDescription: Mannai marked its second UAE purchase in less than a year after snapping up a 35 percent stake in Axiom Telecom in late 2011. The Qatari group now holds 66 percent of indebted Dubai jeweller Damas, with Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes taking 19 percent.
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Name: Oxia \nCountry: Greece \nValue: $9m \nEntity: Unnamed member of the royal family \nDescription: Oxia is a 1,236-acre island located near Ithaca. The purchase of the island was confirmed by the Greek press in April.
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Name: Tiffany \nCountry: US \nSize of stake: 5.2% \nValue: An estimated $437m\nEntity: Qatar Investment Authority \nDescription: Although the QIA’s stake in Tiffany – which makes it the US-based jeweller’s largest shareholder – actually took place last year, the move wasn’t made public until April.
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Name: Total \nCountry: France \nSize of stake: 3% \nValue: Estimated to be above $3bn \nEntity: Qatar Investment Authority \nDescription: The QIA’s investment in French energy giant Total has been another slow-burner. In April this year, Total CEO Christophe de Margarie confirmed that Qatar had increased its stake in the firm to 3 percent, from 2 percent in March. It is now one of the firm’s top five shareholders.
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Name: Smeralda Holding \nCountry: Italy \nSize of stake: 51% \nValue: Unknown \nEntity: Qatar Holding \nDescription: Qatar Holding’s move to buy Colony Capital’s stake in Smeralda Holding means that the sovereign wealth fund now has a portfolio of four luxury hotels, a marina, shipyard, a golf club and a large tract of undeveloped land on the coast of Sardinia.
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Name: Vivendi \nCountry: France \nSize of stake: 2% \nValue: $468m \nEntity: Qatar Holding \nDescription: Qatar Holding upped its stake in one of the world’s biggest music and video-game makers from 1.55 percent in December last year to 2 percent in March. Vivendi’s main assets including French film and television company Canal Plus Group, Universal Music Publishing Group and US video games giant Activision Blizzard.
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Name: Lagardere \nCountry: France \nSize of stake: 12.8% \nValue: Unknown \nEntity: Qatar Investment Authority \nDescription: Qatar has been a staunch supporter of media-to-aerospace conglomerate Lagardere for some years now. It is now the largest shareholder in the French firm.
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Name: LVMH \nCountry: France \nSize of stake: 1% \nValue: $914m \nEntity: Qatar Holding \nDescription: Another investment that became clear this year was Qatar Holding’s interest in French luxury group Louis Vuitton Moet Henessy. The firm owns around 60 of the world’s most-recognised brands.
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Name: Iberdrola
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Name: Credit Suisse headquarters, London \nCountry: UK \nValue: Undisclosed \nEntity: Qatar Holding\nDescription: The 546,114 square-feet building at One Cabot Square in Canary Wharf was leased to the bank under a long-term agreement that runs until 2034, Qatar Holding announced in February.
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Name: The Card Players \nValue: $250m\nEntity: Royal family \nDescription: In February this year, Qatar paid the highest amount ever for a painting – a quarter of a billion dollars for Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players. The piece was bought from Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos, and underlines the state’s push to become the cultural capital of the Gulf.
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Name: Raffles hotels in Singapore and Paris \nValue: Undisclosed \nEntity: Qatar National Hotels Company (now Katara) \nDescription: In January, QNH bought up two Raffles properties – Raffles Singapore, the firm’s flagship property, and Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris. The deals mark the beginning of a planned spate of purchases for QNH during the course of this year.
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Name: Xstrata \nCountry: UK/Switzerland\nSize of stake: 11% \nValue: Around $5bn \nEntity: Qatar Holding\nDescription: Qatar has steadily built up its stake in Xstrata ever since Glencore’s interest in the mining giant was made public. In a break from form for Gulf sovereign wealth funds, Qatar has been an activist shareholder, threatening to pull out from the merger unless Glencore’s terms were improved significantly.