German Investment

Qatar Looks for Leverage

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    With the soccer World Cup in 2022, Qatar could hold opportunities for German businesses. The question is whether these would be really sustainable.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Qatar Financial Centre, or QFC, is a quasi-independent entity within Qatar’s capital Doha and has its own more western-friendly laws and separate tax system from the rest of Qatar.
    • The state is spending $5 billion to expand the QFC into a Wall Street of the Middle East over the next five years, licensing as many as 1,000 firms.
    • Qatar has been looking to diversify and bring in more private companies as oil prices took a sharp dive in recent years.
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    Audio

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Merkel bereist die Golfregion
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Qatar back in 2010. Source: DPA / Picture Alliance

Qatar’s royal family has been among Deutsche Bank’s biggest backers, and not only with financial aid: with a 10-percent stake, it’s the bank’s largest shareholder and has participated in various capital increases – albeit with a reassuring voice during one of the toughest years in the bank’s history.

Back in March of 2016, it was the al-Thani family’s backing that kept Deutsche’s Chairman Paul Achleitner employed. Later in the year, the family issued a statement of confidence in the bank’s bonds as Deutsche came under attack from investors. And just this month, when Deutsche Bank was mulling yet another €8-billion capital increase, the management board turned first to its Qatari stakeholders to see if they would back the plan in a show of support for the bank and its new strategy.

Deutsche Bank isn’t alone: Qatar has also stood by an investment in the scandal-plagued carmaker Volkswagen, not to mention the myriad of significant holdings Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has across Europe. In Germany, these range from construction firm Hochtief, which it helped rescue from a takeover back in 2010, to engineering giant Siemens.

Now, Qatar is hoping to cash in on that relationship – at least indirectly. The Qatar Financial Centre, which operates as a quasi-independent financial center within the capital Doha, has been on a “roadshow” in Germany this week, traveling to Berlin and Munich in the hopes of convincing companies to move at least some of their operations to the Gulf state.

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