Qatar investment spree slows down, liquidating major Southeast Asia assets

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Since last year’s boycott by Gulf and Arab countries of Qatar citing its political interference and active support to terror elements in the region, Doha’s acquisition and investment spree has considerably slowed down.

The latest region which is witnessing this back tracking is Southeast Asia. Asharq Al-Awsat has reported that Qatar Holding LLC is selling its entire shareholding in China and Hong Kong department store operator Lifestyle International Holdings Ltd and Lifestyle China Group Ltd for an aggregate $662.83 million.

The reason for the sale of the shares was not given.

In 2014, the Gulf country’s sovereign wealth fund had bought 19.9 percent of shares in the department store operator in Hong Kong and China for $616 million.

The fund has also sold a stake of about $640 million in Veolia Environment SA last week.

Following the crisis between Qatar and four Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, in June last year, Qatar had sold a number of foreign assets. The Qatari fund had reduced its direct stake in Russia’s Rosneft from 9.75 percent to 4.7 percent, Credit Suisse Group in August and Tiffany & Co luxury jewelry stores in September.

Doha is in the process of selling more assets.

Qatar Investment Authority has about $320 billion of assets, as per the estimates of to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

Following the political and economic crisis, the fund has dramatically cut down on its investments, spending just $3.5 billion in2017, compared with $20 billion in 2016.

Readying for bond sale?

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that Qatar may be getting ready for a potential bond sale in the next few weeks, quoting sources, with Qatari officials holding a non-deal roadshow in Singapore on Wednesday, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. They also met investors in Doha this week, another person said.

Qatar’s debt carries the fourth-highest investment grade at S&P Global Ratings.

If it happens it would be the first such move since the rift with its Gulf and Arab neighbors led to this travel and commercial boycott.