Brexit boost: Qatar will invest another $6 billion in U.K.
Qatar buys ‘trophy asset’ stake in Empire State Building
Qatar is relaxed about Brexit. It has just announced plans to pour another $6 billion into the U.K.
The gas-rich Gulf state has already invested about £40 billion ($50 billion) in Britain, where it owns a string of trophy assets including the Harrods department store and the Shard — western Europe’s tallest building.
Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani said Qatar would spend another £5 billion ($6.3 billion) over the next 3 to 5 years on energy, infrastructure, real estate and other sectors.
The news comes as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to trigger the official EU exit process on Wednesday.
"We are looking beyond the boundaries of our own continent, ready to embrace all the opportunities of this new era," said Liam Fox, U.K. secretary of state for international trade.
The London portfolio of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which manages $335 billion of assets, also includes the city’s Olympic village, and a stake in banking district Canary Wharf.
"It is no exaggeration to say that, through these ventures, Qatar has become part of the fabric of our nation," Fox said.
Qatar’s investments are not just in British real estate.
It came to the rescue of Barclays (BCS) during the global financial crisis, injecting billions of pounds and helping the British bank dodge a government bailout. It’s still the biggest shareholder with about 6%.
Al Thani was in the U.K. this week at the head of a delegation of government officials and senior executives from the QIA, Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Airways.
The carrier, and Doha international airport, were hit last week by a U.S. rule that bans passengers on many flights from the Middle East to the U.S. from carrying any electronic device larger than a smartphone on board.
The U.K. introduced similar rules for several airlines and airports in the region but left Qatar Airways and Doha airport off its list of targets.