DOHA: Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) global fund is open to partnerships across the world and not limited or restricted to a specific area or a country. The objectives of the QIA are to be managed on business rules and principles and achieve reasonable revenues, said QIA Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Al Sayed.
Talking to a global television channel in London, his maiden interview to a media after assuming his office, Al Sayed said the strategy of QIA is mainly inspired by the vision of H H the Emir that QIA is a saving fund for the future. “The QIA is working with a professional management team to enhance our return and achieve our objectives,” he said.
Replying to a question on the fund’s keenness to invest in the UK, Al Sayed said that Britain is one of the main destinations for QIA’s investment.
The successful deals resulted in good revenues to everyone and the QIA was happy to invest more in the UK when the right opportunity came along, he said.
“Britain is one of our major destinations of our investment, It has a great system with great regulations. We have Harrods, we have other investments in Britain like Barclays, Sainsbury, Canary Wharf and London Stock Exchange. We are happy to invest more when opportunities come along,” Al Sayed said.
Speaking about successful deals, Al Sayed said, “QIA sees success as making a deal on the right terms and making it a win-win for everyone. Because if it is a win-win to both parties, it will be a sustainable and long-term investment. It’s not about big, it’s about quality and showing a good result. We are a global fund. We invest globally, we diversify our assets geographically and by asset classes, and we have asset allocations so we will invest whenever the opportunity comes.”
Al Sayed said that on the basis of clear conditions and risk rules, the QIA has helped its partners when asked to. Barclays and Credit Suisse are examples. “We helped in the merger between Porsche and Volkswagen into one group, and this applied also on the merger between Glencore and Xstrata. We create long-term value for the management, for the shareholders and even for the countries we invest in. We welcome this type of investment and will be happy to discuss opportunities with anyone who has a good idea”, he added.
On Harrods, Al Sayed said, “Qatar Holdings bought Harrods in 2010 and I said at that time we have different ideas to improve the store. We have done a lot and anyone can walk around the store and see the difference between 2010 and 2014. In May, it will be four years since our acquisition and I think we have done a lot. We have spent £250m to improve different things and the strong performance shows that improvement. Sales are up 60 to 70 percent following our investment of around £250m.
“Harrods represents British heritage. We are doing our best to take Harrods to the next level of performance and we are working hard with the management team to improve the store further. We are focusing on improving the quality, the performance and the service. The client’s view is extremely important to us. You can see we are really careful about what customers think about the store. The management is doing a great job. We crossed the £1bn revenue mark and we have a clear plan on what we want to do and how we can do it”, Al Sayed said.
“Harrods is looking at expanding into hotels. We need to be successful. We need to be careful about timings….we are not in a hurry to push it,” Al Sayed said. Source: The Peninsula