Qatar to Move $100 Billion Portfolio to Finance MinistryBy and
QIA’s local holdings will be managed by finance minister
Sovereign investor is being overhauled amid low oil prices
Qatar Investment Authority will transfer oversight of its approximately $100 billion domestic portfolio to the country’s finance ministry as the sovereign fund undergoes its second overhaul in three years, people with knowledge of the matter said.
QIA’s stakes in companies such as Qatar Airways, Qatar National Bank SAQ and telecom provider Ooredoo QSC will come under the control of finance minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, a former Qatari diplomat in the U.S., previously managed the fund’s domestic unit after it was set up last year.
Qatar, the world’s richest country per capita, is overhauling its $335 billion sovereign fund as an ongoing slump in oil prices slows the pace of vast wealth accumulation and buyouts of trophy assets around the globe, including holdings in Hollywood, London residential property, British and Swiss banks, as well as a European soccer team.
The QIA, created in 2005 to handle the country’s windfall from liquefied natural gas sales, last year grouped its local assets into a new unit and abandoned the Qatar Holding name synonymous with its highest-profile deals. The move was the fund’s biggest shake up since Qatari royal Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani took over from Ahmad Al-Sayed as chief executive officer in 2014.
Qatar Investment Authority declined to comment and the finance ministry didn’t immediately respond to emails and texts. Al-Rumaihi couldn’t immediately be reached.
Qatar is using consolidation as a tool to cut costs after oil prices declines. Qatar Petroleum, the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, plans to merge two petrochemical and two LNG units, and has assumed management of its foreign investment arm, Qatar Petroleum International. Qatari lenders Masraf Al Rayan QSC, Barwa Bank QSC and International Bank of Qatar QSC are in talks to create the country’s largest sharia-compliant bank.
Finance minister Al Emadi has become one of Qatar’s most prominent officials since assuming the role in 2013. He is the chairman of the country’s national airline, property developer Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co. and of QNB, the Middle East’s largest lender, as well as a QIA board member. QIA is still keen to invest overseas and will spend $35 billion in the U.S. by 2020, Al Emadi said last month.
Qatar in recent months has invested in Turkey’s biggest poultry producer, Russian oil giant Rosneft PJSC, and U.K. gas company National Grid Plc.