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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Qatar Investment Authority considers sale of European hotels

Qatar bought the hotels in 2014 as part of a wider push into luxury hotels

Doha's skyline. Experts and academics gathered in Abu Dhabi on Monday to review the effect of the crisis on Qatar’s economy and political standing. EPA
Doha's skyline. Experts and academics gathered in Abu Dhabi on Monday to review the effect of the crisis on Qatar’s economy and political standing. EPA

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is weighing the sale of three European hotels operated by InterContinental, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Qatar Investment Authority has yet to appoint brokers for a possible sale of the properties in Cannes, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, the people told Bloomberg, asking not to be identified. A final decision about a sale has yet to be made, they said.

QIA, which has about $320 billion of assets, bought the hotels in 2014 as part of a wider push into luxury hotels. The country has been drawing on its wealth fund over the past 11 months to help stave off the impact of a diplomatic and economic boycott led by its larger neighbours Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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The fund’s hotel arm Katara owns a number of other hotels in Europe including Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris in the French capital, the Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern and The Westin Excelsior in Rome, according to its website.

Representatives for QIA did not comment.

Last month, The National reported that Qatar Holding, a unit of the QIA, sold its stake in Hong Kong’s Lifestyle International Holding and Lifestyle China Group for HK$5.2bn Hong Kong dollars (Dh2.43bn) in late March.

The sale came amid a number of divestitures that the QIA has made since the June boycott came into effect, including a reduction in its stake in Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, and the luxury jeweller Tiffany’s. The sale of 4.4 million shares of Tiffany raised about $417 million. In the case of Credit Suisse, the QIA reduced its stake in the Swiss bank by not participating in its capital increase last year.

In March, Qatari Diar, the property unit of the QIA, said it was selling 26.1 million shares in Veolia Environnement for about $640m.