x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Qatar buys into China state fund Citic Capital

Qatar Holding has bought into Citic Capital, a unit of a Chinese state-backed investment fund, as it boosts spending in the world's second-largest economy.

Qatar Holding has bought into a unit of a Chinese state-backed investment fund as it boosts spending in the world's second-largest economy.

The company based in Doha bought new shares in Citic Capital amounting to a 22.2 stake in the asset manager, which is owned by China Investment Corporation.

"Not only will Qatar Holding provide us with an enlarged capital base to fund our business expansion and investments, its significant backing will strengthen our brand positioning meaningfully," said Yichen Zhang, the chief executive of Citic Capital, which manages about US$4.4 billion (Dh16.16bn) in assets.

The value of Qatar's stake was not disclosed in a statement released yesterday by Citic. Qatar Holding was unavailable for comment. China is attracting increased investment from Arabian Gulf states drawn to its long-term growth potential and helped by a relaxation of foreign ownership rules the government hopes will spur growth in the country's capital markets.

Qatar Holding has spearheaded an international spending spree in recent years that has enabled it to accumulate stakes in trophy assets such as Porsche, Barclays, Harrods and Canary Wharf in London, and Sainsbury's. But China has been a focus of its international investment push since 2010 when it bought $2.8bn worth of shares in the initial public offering of Agricultural Bank of China.

Qatar Investment Authority, which owns Qatar Holding, has applied for a licence and $5bn quota to invest in China under the country's qualified foreign institutional investment programme, the China Securities Journal reported in June.

The investment group is currently in a high-profile stand-off with Glencore, a commodities trading giant, over a proposed merger with Xstrata, in which the Qatari group is a major shareholder.

Qatar Holding wants to get better terms on the deal but that has been rejected by Glencore, which this week warned it could still walk away from any proposed merger.

scronin@thenational.ae

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