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Wealth funds of gas-rich Qatar are likely to make further global real estate investments as prices in countries such as Germany decline, Jones Lang LaSalle said in a report today.

The funds “are likely to be emerging as the new powerhouse in terms of global real estate capital flows in 2010,” Fadi Moussalli, regional director at Jones Lang LaSalle MENA said in the e-mailed report.

“Cash-rich and with a strong appetite for splashy overseas assets, Qatari vehicles have lately outshined their counterparts from the region and are projected to carry on with their rapid expansion across the real estate world,” Moussalli said.

The International Monetary Fund expects the Qatari economy to grow 18.5 percent this year, far above estimates for the rest of the Gulf Arab region. Harrods Ltd., owner of the London luxury department store, was sold to Qatar Holding LLC by Mohamed Al-Fayed last month. The price was 1.5 billion pounds ($2.2 billion), said two people familiar with the transaction.

Qatar is the largest shareholder in Songbird Estates Plc, which controls more than half the buildings in the Canary Wharf estate in London, J Sainsbury Plc, the U.K.’s third-biggest supermarket owner, and Barclays Plc, the U.K.’s third-largest bank by assets. It’s also the second-largest shareholder in London Stock Exchange Group Plc and has a stake in Volkswagen AG, the German automaker.

“Their ability to compete in this market will be increased by the decline in investment from German open ended funds, which were among the major global investors in 2009,” Moussalli said. The German funds are likely to make fewer acquisitions government relations tighter, he said.

Inal Ersan, Digby Lidstone, Camilla Hall
Bloomberg


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