Qatar sovereign wealth fund to boost US portfolio to $61b

DOHA • Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) aims to raise its US investments to US$45 billion (S$61 billion) in the next two years as it rebalances its asset portfolio away from Europe, its chief executive has said.

The sovereign wealth fund has built up a huge European portfolio through stakes in companies that include Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and London Stock Exchange.

QIA has about US$30 billion invested in the US, Mansour Ibrahim al-Mahmoud said on Sunday. "We are talking about US$45 billion for the US market... We are on track for this over the next two years."

Mr Mahmoud's predecessor, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, in 2015 committed to invest US$45 billion in the US over a five-year period. "Our objective is to balance our portfolio... Currently we have a little bit of concentration in Europe and having this allocation towards the US market is to balance the portfolio," he said.

In the US, QIA was looking at fundamental sectors, including real estate, technology and bourses, he said. In one such deal, QIA and hedge fund Elliott Management in December 2017 took Gigamon, the US networking software company, private for US$1.6 billion.

Mr Mahmoud was speaking as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Qatar on a tour of the region. Qatar is at loggerheads with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which have cut off diplomatic and transport ties with Doha, accusing it of backing terrorism and cosying up to Iran.

Qatar denies supporting terrorism and its government is seeking to use the sanctions enforced by its neighbours as an opportunity to develop its own industry and its relations with other countries.

The value of Qatar's trade with the US has doubled in 10 years, Trade Minister Ali al-Kuwairi said at the US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue conference over the weekend. He said the US tops the list of exporters to the Gulf nation.

Mr Kuwari said bilateral trade volume reached US$6 billion in the period from January to October last year. He did not give the equivalent figure for the previous year but this would be higher than the value for all of 2017, which was about US$4.3 billion in bilateral trade, according to the US Census Bureau.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2019, with the headline 'Qatar sovereign wealth fund to boost US portfolio to $61b'. Print Edition | Subscribe