UPDATE 1-Qatar Investment Fund to broaden focus into Gulf beyond Qatar

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DUBAI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Qatar Investment Fund Plc is to broaden its investment strategy from focusing largely on Qatar to targeting other rich oil exporting countries in the region, its board said on Monday, adding that it would also change its name.

The move reflects the stress on Qatar’s capital markets caused by its dispute with neighbouring Arab states.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, accusing it of backing terrorism, something it vehemently denies.

Current strategy allows the fund (QIF), which had net assets of $114 million as of June 30, to invest up to 15 percent of its assets in Gulf Cooperation Council nations other than Qatar.

The proposed new strategy, which will be presented to shareholders for approval, would remove this limit, allowing increased investment in other members of the six-nation GCC -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The fund would also be permitted to invest in companies which were listed outside the GCC but were exposed to GCC economies.

Qatar’s stock index has tumbled 16 percent since the rift with Doha’s neighbours. Funds from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have pulled much of their money out of the market and other foreign funds have become more cautious, though there have been signs of them buying some Qatari stocks at the lows.

“The Board is mindful that the existing investment policy, whilst allowing for some investment in GCC countries other than Qatar, is principally a single country-focused policy and the Board is conscious of the risk to the Company from having a principally single country focus,” QIF said.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, QIF was incorporated as a closed-end investment company on the Isle of Man in 2007. Its primary objective is to achieve long-term capital growth by investing in Qatari equities.

QIF said its board had been discussing its strategy with its investment adviser, Qatar Insurance Co, since March this year. QIF will also propose changing its name to Gulf Investment Fund Plc and making a tender offer for up to 10 percent of its issued share capital. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)


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