QATAR. A unit of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) yesterday said it was looking into investing in Europe, including buying London office blocks worth up to £500 million (US$878 million), as prices were expected to fall.
“We are looking at buying office blocks in London because they are always in demand ... we are looking at an investment of between £80 million and £500 million,” Ahmed al-Mazroei, Deputy CEO of Diar, said.
Mazroei said Diar, the property arm of Qatar’s US$40 billion sovereign fund QIA, was looking to benefit from an expected decline of 15% to 20% in the European real estate market in the coming two years, which he said would make prices “cheap” in view of the liquidity crisis.
Commercial real estate valuations in Britain are 22% down on average from their peaks in the Summer of 2007. In September QIA bought a 20% state in British property company Chelsfield Partners.
QIA also holds stake in Britain’s J Sainsbury of approximately 27%, a stake in the London Stock Exchange of 15% and a 6% holding in Barclays. Its property interests include a 15% stake in Songbird Estates.
Mazroei said the firm was also looking at opportunities in either China, Hong Kong, Vietnam or Cambodia.