Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund said on Saturday it has become the biggest shareholder in the company that owns much of London’s Canary Wharf business district, highlighting a renewed appetite by Gulf investors for property in well-established markets.
Qatar Holding said it has increased its holding to 24 percent of the ordinary shares of the real estate company, Songbird Estates PLC.
It said its entire investment in Songbird now stands at more than US$559 million.
“We are pleased to have taken this opportunity to increase our stake in an outstanding prime real estate portfolio with stable long-term income and high caliber management,” said Ahmad al-Sayed, Qatar Holding’s chief executive and managing director.
Qatar Holding is the investment arm of the natural gas-rich Arab state’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.
Its holdings include stakes in European banks Barclays PLC and Credit Suisse Group, British supermarket operator J Sainsbury PLC and the London Stock Exchange.
The fund’s stake in Songbird includes participation in a debt financing deal for the property company. In exchange for the financing, Qatar Holding will have the right to further increase its stake in Songbird at a later date.
Qatar Holding will also get three seats on Songbird’s board, and one on the board of Canary Wharf Group, of which Songbird will own nearly 70 percent.
“We believe the very positive response to the offering shows the improving sentiment towards UK commercial property in recent weeks as well as the attractiveness of this transaction,” al-Sayed said.
The Canary Wharf financial district in east London provides office space for several major banks, including HSBC and Barclays.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit