Sep 16 2012
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Qatar in USD7.3bn MENA acquisition spree
Acquisitions made across the MENA region by Qatari companies have reached over USD 7.3 billion since the start of the Arab Spring, according to figures compiled by Zawya.
The shopping spree can be attributed to a number of factors, financial analysts say. Qatari investor Ali Al Marzouqi believes the region's political transitions left the door open for many attractive investment opportunities. Secondly, due to a decade-long boom on the back of petrochemicals prosperity, the acquirer companies held high levels of liquidity. Alaa Shebani, a financial advisor at Barwa Bank, points to Qatar's long-standing "underlying aspirations" for more widespread influence in the region.
Both Shebani and Al Marzouqi believe that public and private sector investment in the 2022 FIFA World Cup will accelerate the Gulf nation's GDP growth.
Most recent activities involve the purchase of banking assets including Qatar National Bank's 40% in UAE-based Commercial International Bank worth USD 82 million and its 49% acquisition of Libya's Bank of Commerce and Development for USD 186 million.
In the first quarter of 2012, investment bank QInvest acquired a 60% share in Cairo-based EFG Hermes Holding for USD 250 million. Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan, meanwhile, diversified its assets by purchasing a 60% stake in two Qatar-based maintenance and energy companies for USD 126 million.
Outside of the financial sector, Qatar Telecom, or Qtel, in June raised its shares in Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell to 60% following a USD 1.47 billion bid. In August, the telco also offered USD 2.2 billion for the remaining shares of Kuwait's National Mobile Telecommunications Company, or Wataniya, in which it already has a 52.5% stake.
"[Many Qatari] companies believe they [now] have everything needed to compete on an international platform. [Top executives are keen] to bring their companies' success abroad after establishing it in Qatar," Shebani said.
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