QInvest sees 10% shaved off Euro property portfolio

EXCLUSIVE: Qatar's largest investment bank hit by slump in int'l real estate.
QInvest sees 10% shaved off Euro property portfolio
LONDON ASSET: QInvest owns 80 percent of the Shard of Glass skyscraper in London.
By Tom Arnold
Thu 14 May 2009 04:18 PM

QInvest, Qatar’s largest investment bank, had seen 10 percent shaved off the value of its European real estate portfolio following the slump in international property markets, the chief executive of the firm revealed.

The firm holds an 80 percent stake in the ‘Shard of Glass’ development, one of London’s most high-profile skyscraper projects, which last year was valued at $3.88bn, in addition to a commercial property portfolio in Paris.

Asked about the impact of the property market decline, CEO Shahzad Shahbaz, said: “It has affected the valuations, particularly in Europe, but not a very significant impact given the nature of the investments we have.”

QInvest’s real estate portfolio, which represents about 35 percent of the company’s assets, also includes investment in Al Waab City, a $3.3bn project under development in Doha, he said in an interview.

The Qatar Financial Centre-based is planning to launch a $250m private equity fund before the end of 2009 to take advantage of distressed assets in regional markets, he said.

In addition, it would this year be launching a fund for listed equities, a specific sector fund and a “special opportunities fund” focused on different asset classes, he added.

“Our view is that some of the values and opportunities that are available today are quite attractive and as long as you have a long-term view this is a good time to invest,” Shahbaz said.

Three of the funds would be focused on the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Turkey, with the specific sector fund invested internationally.

QInvest would jointly invest with investors in the funds, the sizes of three of which had not yet been decided.

He said the specific sector fund would be invested in a sector which had been “overly depressed” by the impact of the financial crisis but refused to say which sector.

The company had not made any investments over the past seven months because it was “waiting and seeing” where the best opportunities would arise, he said.

Established in 2007, QInvest has an authorised capital of $1bn, of which the paid-up was $500m. Its principal shareholders are Qatar Islamic Bank and Gulf Finance House.

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