UPDATE 1-Qatar sovereign fund says German real estate good opportunity
BERLIN, April 15 (Reuters) - Qatar's aggressive sovereign wealth fund is focusing its investment strategy in Germany on companies selling in emerging markets as well as real estate, an executive board member of the Qatar Investment Authority said on Monday.
The QIA, the most active Middle East sovereign wealth fund in recent years, is estimated to be worth around $200 billion and has bought stakes in companies ranging from German sports car maker Porsche to Barclays.
"Our strategy here in Germany is the need to focus on companies that not only sell in Europe but sell also to emerging markets," Hussain Al Abdulla told a Qatari business and investment conference held in a hotel recently acquired by the gas-rich emirate. "Also in Germany, we are focussing on real estate."
The world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas has a lot of spare cash to invest. Recent figures showed a budget surplus of $26 billion in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012-13, or 54 percent of GDP for the period.
Abdulla said real estate prices in Europe's powerhouse economy were well below prices in 1993 during the bubble after reunification, making it a good opportunity to invest.
The QIA fund started focusing on commodities after the financial crisis and looks at real estate like it does commodities, Abdulla said. The QIA has invested billions of dollars in high-end property in Europe, especially London, where it owns assets including the Shard skyscraper.
Abdulla said it believed commodity prices would always rise in the long run because the world population was on the rise, fueling demand for natural resources.
He added that the economic atmosphere in crisis-stricken Europe was difficult for foreign investors at the moment, but Qatar would do its best to invest in the region.
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