Qatar Holding to Seek Credit Rating, Didn’t Have Debt Last Year

Qatar Holding LLC, the foreign investment arm of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, plans to seek a credit rating from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Corp in the “next few months” and had zero corporate debt on its balance sheet at the end of last year, the fund’s chief executive officer said.

“We have never been highly leveraged,” Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed, the fund’s chief executive officer, said in a phone interview with reporters. “In 2012, the balance sheet had zero corporate debt.”

Qatar Holdings only had project finance debt for real estate investments, Al Sayed said. He declined to comment on the balance sheet for 2010 or 2011.

U.K. regulators are looking into allegations Barclays Plc lent Qatar cash to invest in the bank’s own shares during the financial crisis in 2008, the Financial Times reported Feb. 1, citing two people familiar with the matter it didn’t identify. Qatar Holding does “few deals” without a loan to pay for acquisitions, the FT reported Feb. 10, citing bankers it didn’t identify who are familiar with the fund’s operations.

Qatar, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, invests petroleum revenues in companies around the world to diversify the economy.

Qatar Holding earned a 17 percent return on its investments last year, Hussain Al Abdulla, a board member for the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, said today. The fund owns stakes in companies including Barclays Plc, Volkswagen AG, Xstrata Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG. The fund bought Harrods Department Store Co in London in 2010.

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