Qatar set to pay $2bn for landmark Paris retailer

Gulf state reportedly poised to add to its growing assets in France with deal for Printemps

Qatar is set to pay €1.6bn ($2.09bn) for the landmark Paris department store Printemps and its nationwide chain of stores, according to The Financial Times.

It was revealed last month the Gulf nation planed to purchase 100 percent of Printemps through its Luxembourg-based company Divine Investments.

According to newspaper, Borletti Group, which owns 30 percent of the retail group, would purchase the 70 percent owned by Deutsche Banks’ real estate investment unit RREEF, before selling the entire company to Qatar.

The investment would be worth €1.6bn, including €550 million of debt.

Borletti and RREEF bought Printemps in 2006 from French luxury group PPR for €1.1bn ($1.41bn), according to Reuters.

Printemps now has 16 stores and employs about 4,000 people. Its 2011-12 turnover rose 13 percent to €1.45bn.

Qatar already has several interests in France, including owning the Paris Saint-Germain football club and numerous prominent luxury hotels and prime buildings on the Champs-Elysees and Boulevard Hasusmann.

Last year it reportedly bought four luxury hotels from investment group Starwood at a total cost of up to €750m, and a Paris building which houses a section of the US embassy and the offices of national newspaper Le Figaro, worth $367m.

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