Cooperation between QFC and Turkish businesses as a part of its broader strategic diversification plans

Al-Mohannadi and Jolo: Global expansion at a measured pace. Sources – Gulf Times

The Qatar Financial Center (QFC) is eyeing Turkish businesses in a big way as part of its broader strategic diversification plans and to promote the country as a lucrative destination for the Turkish companies. In this regard, QFC Authority (QFCA) chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida and managing director (business development) Sheikha Alanoud bint Hamad al-Thani had meetings with Ankara and Istanbul based investors and businesses looking to expand to Qatar.

The QFC officials also had meeting with the government officials including Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Economy and Commerce. “Our recent visit to Ankara and Istanbul was highly productive. Qatar and Turkey’s economic and business interests continue to grow stronger and both regions are benefiting from one another,” al-Jaida said. As one of the most competitive countries in the Arab region, Qatar’s business environment offers countless rewarding opportunities to businesses and investors looking to expand, he said, adding the QFC continues to be an integral part of Qatar’s strategy to diversify its economy.

“Our meetings with Turkish government officials were also very positive and gave us the chance to discuss our diversification ambitions and how we can help to add to the increasing bilateral trade relations between Qatar and Turkey,” according to him. Qatar and Turkey have always had strategic relations in many areas, built upon a strong and friendly historical relationship. In the first quarter of this year, Turkish companies undertook 128 projects totalling $14.2bn in Qatar. It was recently announced that Qatar will invest $19bn in Turkey in 2018. Bilateral trade volume between Qatar and Turkey stood at $834.5mn in 2016 and it was $634mn in the first eight months of 2017.

Sheikha Alanoud said the discussions with Turkish businesses have proved very worthwhile and the QFC has raised awareness about its platform. Highlighting that there was a lot of interest from (Turkish) businesses wishing to expand in Qatar, she said, “There are over 200 Turkish companies operating in Qatar with many joint ventures between Turkish and Qatari business people. This is a figure we anticipate will increase, and the QFC platform is one avenue that will help bring more Turkish companies to Qatar.”

Stressing that the QFC endeavours to promote Qatar as a lucrative destination for Turkish companies, its spokesman said once a company submits its application, a dedicated QFC relationship manager is appointed to provide guidance on the registration process, obtaining a licence and setting up operations. The QFC firms enjoy competitive benefits, such as operating within a legal environment based on English Common Law; the right to trade in any currency; 100% foreign ownership; 100% repatriation of profits; 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double tax treaty agreement network with more than 60 countries, including Turkey.

QFC officials pose with Zeybekci. In the first quarter of this year, Turkish companies undertook 128 projects  totalling $14.2bn in Qatar. It was recently announced that Qatar will invest $19bn in Turkey in 2018. Nebras Power acquires shares in Jordan solar power plant, its 4th project in country. Nebras Power has entered into a shareholder agreement with AES to develop a 52 MWe solar power plant in Jordan along with Mitsui & Company. According to the agreement, Nebras will have a 24% stake in the project. Nebras along with its partners will finance, build own and operate the plant located east of Amman, Jordan.

The importance of this project is that it is the fourth power project for Nebras in Jordan after Amman East, IPP4 Al Manakhar and Shams Maan Power Plants.  It is also the second power project to use solar energy technology, which underlines the importance of clean energy projects for Nebras and reflects its commitment to expand its investments in this sector. The partners had previously signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the entire electricity generated with the Jordanian National Electric Power Company (NEPCO). Construction and financing contracts are under finalisation.

“With this move, Nebras Power continues its commitment to global expansion at a measured pace while adhering to its core business and expertise, and we are delighted to be a partner in this project. This step comes in line with Nebras Power’s long-term global investment strategy and is consistent with the vision of its Board of Directors “ said Fahad bin Hamad al-Mohannadi, chairman, Nebras Power.  He said, “Nebras Power will continue its efforts to increase its electricity production capacity, taking into account the importance of the diversity of fuel used.”

On the transaction, Khalid Mohamed Jolo, Nebras Power CEO said, “We are delighted with this investment, which is an expansion of Qatari investments in the Kingdom of Jordan, and Nebras Power will focus on building a balanced investment portfolio which includes renewable energy. Utilising the extensive experience in development, operation, maintenance, and the strong financial position are some of the key reasons that put Nebras Power on an ambitious road map that has made it eager to become one of the best power and water developers, and we are working hard through our investments to achieve this goal.”

Faisal Obeid al-Siddiqi, Nebras Power chief business development officer, said, “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an important country for Nebras Power, where it seeks to expand its investments as Jordan has a steady growth in energy demand and has an established framework for independent power producers. We are proud to invest in our fourth project in Jordan in a short period of time.” Established in 2014 and headquartered in Doha, Nebras Power is a joint venture of two government-related entities: Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC – 60%) and Qatar Holding (QH – 40%).

Sources: Gulf Times