Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Dave Beans

A Royal Welcome For The £50Bn Emir Buying Britain Brick By Brick

Recommended Posts

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/a-royal-welcome-for-the-16350bn-emir-buying-britain-brick-by-brick-2117471.html

First Harrods. Then the US embassy. What's next for Qatar's monarch?

"Thank you for reminding me about Christie's," one of the world's richest monarchs, the Emir of Qatar, said casually on the eve of his state visit to Britain, which began yesterday with a spectacular horse-drawn carriage procession to Windsor Castle.

It is easy to forget about something as trivial as buying one of the world's top auction houses when you have an investment portfolio as big as that of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. The Qatari monarch, who owns one third of the world's natural gas reserves, is five times richer than the Queen. In recent times he has been using considerable quantities of that wealth to buy up trophy assets in London. Christie's – if he does decide to buy it – will be added to Harrods, the US embassy building in Grosvenor Square and the capital's most expensive property development, One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge. The Emir acquired the Chelsea Barracks site for a record-breaking price and also owns considerable chunks of Barclays, Sainsburys and Canary Wharf.

But if Sheikh Hamad is the most aggressive and adventurous buyer of British property, he is far from alone. Arabs, primarily from the Gulf states, have tripled their share of investment in UK commercial property in the past five years. Last year they spent £1.48 bn – representing 16 per cent of all foreign investment in the sector.

Related articles

The most prolific Gulf shoppers are:

n Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of the Saudi royal family, who owns the Savoy Hotel, which reopened last week after a three-year, £220m refurbishment.

* The biggest of the Arab sovereign wealth funds, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which has assets of £553bn and owns Berkeley Square, and the ExCel exhibition centre in the Royal Docks, and has recently spent £640m on three blocks in Knightsbridge.

n Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi United Group, who last year bought Manchester City for £210m. His fresh investment in the club has reached £570m. He can afford it. Around the same time as he bought the club he purchased £2.2bn-worth of Barclays Bank, and spent £1.7bn acquiring a 9.1 per cent stake in Daimler.

Investors from the Gulf states have been among the most prolific deal-makers in recent years. British household names like Madame Tussauds, Aston Martin and the hotel chain Travelodge are now in their hands.

So many billions have been splashed around that whenever another trophy asset comes up for sale – or even when one is rumoured, in the case of football clubs – shadowy sheikhs are perceived to be hovering in the background.

The emir of Qatar, and his £54bn sovereign wealth fund, were said to be behind a takeover bid for Everton FC last year. Another Saudi royal, Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, was linked with Liverpool. And various Gulf royal families and sovereign wealth funds from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait were said to have made an offer for Manchester United earlier this year. Dubai International Capital has tried to buy both Liverpool and Newcastle United.

Behind all this activity lie three factors. Over the past two years oil prices have doubled, bolstering the fabled wealth of Arab families and states.

At the same time, since the global financial crisis, there have been sharp falls in the price of British property and companies. Britain looks a good place to invest, given its low tax rates, its expertise in financial services and its handy time zone, midway between the Middle East and the US. The British horse-racing summer season, from the Derby to Royal Ascot, panders to an Arab obsession and takes place when the Gulf sun is at its unpleasant hottest.

More than that, as the third factor, oil-rich investors have learned from their earlier mistakes. In the past they did not diversify their national and household economies sufficiently, and found themselves at the mercy of wild fluctuations in oil price. Even Qatar was almost bankrupted. They have not focused only on Britain. The emir of Qatar last year ploughed £6.3bn into Volkswagen and Porsche. He reopened another grand hotel, the iconic Le Royal Monceau in Paris, last week. He has just bought the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore, famed for its colonial grandeur and the Singapore Sling cocktail. The Emir says that his various funds invest "everywhere" – with a £3.2bn real-estate for energy deal with Malaysia, a £632m joint venture with Indonesia and a £1.7bn investment in the Brazilian arm of the Santander banking group. "We are investing in a big deal with China, with India, Taiwan and Japan," he said recently. "Actually we are going anywhere anybody has good projects and approaches us... We are trying to create a Qatari standard: you win, we win, and we go for the long term." London is particularly attractive to Arab investors because of sterling's slide against the US dollar. So it has become the prime target for the investments the oil sheikhs know their children will need to sustain their lifestyles when the oil runs out in decades.

"Real estate in London may get sick but it doesn't die," said the Emir. One of those who manage his funds, Stephen Barter, chief executive of Qatari Diar, said: "There is no shortage of opportunities. The objective is to invest smart money. The UK is attractive and probably over the worst of the downturn."

London is bucking the trend on a falling pattern of foreign direct investment elsewhere in Europe, with US, China and India also investing big in the UK capital. The same is not true of many other British cities. The recession is widening the gap between the capital and cities like Belfast, Liverpool and Sheffield, which are now among the least-favoured places in Europe to invest in property, though places like Manchester are surviving, and not just because of Sheikh Mansour's purchase of the city's second football club.

Even so, the British Government is pleased with the development. Expanding UK business and political ties with the Gulf states was an early priority set out by the Coalition government. Qatar invested more than £2bn in Britain last year, and ministers hope to persuade Arabs to buy more here to help an export-led recovery. They also hope that this week's state visit will bring more secure energy supplies to the UK. Qatar helped rescue Britain from energy shortages during last winter's exceptional cold by supplying more than 10 per cent of the country's gas needs.

Ministers also see the tiny Gulf state as having a strategic role in bringing peace to the Middle East. The Emir, 58 and educated at Sandhurst, has built a reputation as a canny statesman, maintaining good relations with the US, which has bases in Qatar, and with Israel – but also with Iran and Syria. He is even trusted by the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hizbollah groups. As a mediator he has already played a key role in bringing Lebanon back from the brink of civil war.

A decade ago he also launched the Arabic television station Al Jazeera, which has brought much freer speech to the Arab world, and annoyed the Americans in equal measure.

As he buys up great swathes of London it is not hard to see why everyone is comparatively relaxed about the idea.

Emir by numbers

£50bn The current value of his sovereign wealth fund.

£1.5bn The Emir's personal fortune.

£37.4m The value of the mansion he owns on Park Lane in London.

436ft The length of his super yacht, the 'Al Mirqab'.

In the comments section, a poster mentions that overseas property traders pay no CGT...is this right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's amusing the way countries (ie the UK) act like gold-digging tarts to other parts of the world (ie rich Gulf states) who have wealth(energy)

Particularly when we are able to magic up £200bn from the crack of our ar5e.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Qatari monarch, who owns one third of the world's natural gas reserves

No, one-seventh (see Wikipedia). Russia and Iran have more. Strange error from the Indy - mere commonsense should suggest that such a small area could hardly dominate the world market that way?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

far better IMO that people with some sense of dignity and history (rather than pure greed russian/american oligarchs) buy us up than simply loan us more money we have no way to pay back. This pomp and ceremony we are showing him is surely to convince him that there is something of value left on this island, we certainly didn't look flat broke yesterday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

far better IMO that people with some sense of dignity and history (rather than pure greed russian/american oligarchs) buy us up than simply loan us more money we have no way to pay back. This pomp and ceremony we are showing him is surely to convince him that there is something of value left on this island, we certainly didn't look flat broke yesterday.

i'd rather be bought out (if it has to happen) by hard nosed businessmen athiests than some guy who's happened to be born on some oil and thinks he's got magic blood and has got a direct phone line to the big sky fairy, tbh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'd rather be bought out (if it has to happen) by hard nosed businessmen athiests than some guy who's happened to be born on some oil and thinks he's got magic blood and has got a direct phone line to the big sky fairy, tbh.

Quite worrying really.I keep finding myself in agreement with the Injin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

far better IMO that people with some sense of dignity and history (rather than pure greed russian/american oligarchs) buy us up than simply loan us more money we have no way to pay back. This pomp and ceremony we are showing him is surely to convince him that there is something of value left on this island, we certainly didn't look flat broke yesterday.

People with a sense of dignity and history.......... lol

I take it that you have never been to the region or met any of the inhabitants or perhaps you are being ironic.

If you knew what passes for civilised behaviour in this part of the world you would not be quite so relaxed about them becoming your masters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

far better IMO that people with some sense of dignity and history (rather than pure greed russian/american oligarchs) buy us up than simply loan us more money we have no way to pay back. This pomp and ceremony we are showing him is surely to convince him that there is something of value left on this island, we certainly didn't look flat broke yesterday.

We might not be borrowing from him but we'll have to pay him rent forever! Still, given that we don't have enough exports this is the only way we can pay for imported oil - literally sell off Park Lane, Mayfair and the nicest parts of our country to the resource rich. London is already an expensive playground/theme park for the global rich, it's not really a place that many indigenous brits can enjoy much these days. Yeh you can still get drunk in the Weatherspoons in Leicester Square, narrowly avoid getting run over by SHeik Mansoors limosine, and yak up on the bus on the way home, but the exclusive clubs, restaurants and schools that 100 years ago were stuffed with British aristocrats are now full of your Abramoviches and their offspring. not that I care much I'm hardly an aristocrat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We might not be borrowing from him but we'll have to pay him rent forever!

The good thing about rent is he can only charge what we can afford to pay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'd rather be bought out (if it has to happen) by hard nosed businessmen athiests than some guy who's happened to be born on some oil and thinks he's got magic blood and has got a direct phone line to the big sky fairy, tbh.

You seem to be getting him confused with the Pope surely.

The trouble with hard nosed businessmen is the bottom line is their one and only consideration. Even if you don't agree entirely with the source of it this emir will have some code of ethics at least and being a "royal" should likely have an appearance to keep up, ie won't want to do anything that makes him look like a complete see you next tuesday. (and lets keep the religiophobia for the off topic)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You seem to be getting him confused with the Pope surely.

The trouble with hard nosed businessmen is the bottom line is their one and only consideration. Even if you don't agree entirely with the source of it this emir will have some code of ethics at least and being a "royal" should likely have an appearance to keep up, ie won't want to do anything that makes him look like a complete see you next tuesday. (and lets keep the religiophobia for the off topic)

Well, exactly.

Hard nosed businessmen won't want to be buying up real estate to stick palaces to schizophrenia* on them, or influence educational policy towards one branch of madness or other. As for needing to not look foolish, he declares his blood to have magic properties, he's well over that particular hill.

Which religion doesn't matter to this either, crazy people who need keeping away from anything sharp shouldn't be running important stuff, they should be in a secure unit somewhere.

*Sorry, religious buildings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You seem to be getting him confused with the Pope surely.

The trouble with hard nosed businessmen is the bottom line is their one and only consideration. Even if you don't agree entirely with the source of it this emir will have some code of ethics at least and being a "royal" should likely have an appearance to keep up, ie won't want to do anything that makes him look like a complete see you next tuesday. (and lets keep the religiophobia for the off topic)

Like beating his servant to death to get his rocks off you mean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the seller is the clever one, they may not be British subjects either.

Actually looking at Wikipedia I see Qatar is minted with a high HDI, so my point about raising living standards is probably moot. However, it appears to rely on expats who make up 2/3 of the population. Frankly I don't care if foreigners buy our assets. Countries can only be long term successful with western rule of law/methods. Doesn't matter who the boss, the system stays the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, exactly.

Hard nosed businessmen won't want to be buying up real estate to stick palaces to schizophrenia* on them, or influence educational policy towards one branch of madness or other. As for needing to not look foolish, he declares his blood to have magic properties, he's well over that particular hill.

Which religion doesn't matter to this either, crazy people who need keeping away from anything sharp shouldn't be running important stuff, they should be in a secure unit somewhere.

*Sorry, religious buildings.

you seem to be the one frothing at the mouth, can't be sure of it's accuracy but you seem to be accusing 84% of the world of having a severe clinical mental illness which seems a little unlikely. You crazy cat you :rolleyes: Many in off-topic will welcome you to the fold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The minority of the UK population that have always been the elite of London have never mixed with the British subjects.

Apparently the BNP have made calls for the British aristocracy to integrate with the riff-raff. Doesn't seem very likely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually looking at Wikipedia I see Qatar is minted with a high HDI, so my point about raising living standards is probably moot. However, it appears to rely on expats who make up 2/3 of the population. Frankly I don't care if foreigners buy our assets. Countries can only be long term successful with western rule of law/methods. Doesn't matter who the boss, the system stays the same

Perhaps you have not had the benefit of visiting any of the Gulf states but I can assure you it does matter who is boss and the system is certainly not the same. The rule of law only applies to expats. Locals can and do ignore it. If you are a reasonably well connected local you can literally get away with murder provided the victim is not a local. You may have to pay blood money to their relatives but this is capped at about 30,000 quid (half for a woman).

As to the adoption of western rule of law being a prerequisite for long term success I doubt that the Chinese would agree. Frankly I doubt that even the Yanks would agree given the way that their elite circumvent the rule of law.

Edited by Buccaneer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you seem to be the one frothing at the mouth, can't be sure of it's accuracy but you seem to be accusing 84% of the world of having a severe clinical mental illness which seems a little unlikely. You crazy cat you :rolleyes: Many in off-topic will welcome you to the fold.

Yes, 84% of the world are suffering from a severe clinical illness.

Which is what religion is. A mental illness.

Russian oligarchs are many things, batshit hallucinatory nutjobs who think they have magic blood and the voices are divine isn't usually one of them. I'll pick evil but sane over dazzling psycho mentalists any day of the week, if it's all the same to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, 84% of the world are suffering from a severe clinical illness.

Which is what religion is. A mental illness.

Russian oligarchs are many things, batshit hallucinatory nutjobs who think they have magic blood and the voices are divine isn't usually one of them. I'll pick evil but sane over dazzling psycho mentalists any day of the week, if it's all the same to you.

do as you please. Can't find anything about "magic blood" on google though, did you hallucinate it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

do as you please. Can't find anything about "magic blood" on google though, did you hallucinate it?

Emir is a title of nobility, no?

Edit - I am glad you concede the point that all religious people are mental to some degree.

Edited by Injin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just makes me want to crush the city, close the BBC, stop subsidising rents and move the entire government function up to Middlesborough even more. London is beyond help, it needs to be turned into a ghost town and re-born again.

Let them get their fingers burnt, within a decade or two London will be a desolate wasteland fit only for the gangs and rodents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just makes me want to crush the city, close the BBC, stop subsidising rents and move the entire government function up to Middlesborough even more. London is beyond help, it needs to be turned into a ghost town and re-born again.

Let them get their fingers burnt, within a decade or two London will be a desolate wasteland fit only for the gangs and rodents.

Funny that the capital was always more northerly until the CB was set up.

Could the whole thing be malinvestment?

:o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, one-seventh (see Wikipedia). Russia and Iran have more. Strange error from the Indy - mere commonsense should suggest that such a small area could hardly dominate the world market that way?

Just goes to show where "mere commonsense" gets you!

Most of the gas that Qatar lays claim to is under the Gulf itself. They are in a major race with the Iranians, around who can get their share out first. Qatar is committed to getting 200 years-worth out in less than a century, and are investing massively (and profitably) to do it.

Google "Ras Laffan Industrial City" and you'll find out more.

Qatar's a great place, by the way - if we had half the "oomph" they have over there, back here in the UK, then we'd be in a way different place from where we are now. They are a great example of what can really be done with a Sovereign Wealth Fund - unlike the UK where our so-called "democracy" has pis$ed the whole of our North Sea oil revenue up the wall, on the latest short-term populist political project.

Off there again soon - can't wait. Always feels a real let-down arriving back at LHR, into this sh!thole of a country.

A country of which I used to be inordinately - and unquestioningly - proud. But not any more :(

B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Emir is a title of nobility, no?

Edit - I am glad you concede the point that all religious people are mental to some degree.

No, it's the arabic word for "leader" but has been translated to "Prince" in the west as that is how we understand their position in society from our own history and customs. It is clearly said in Islam that "no man is better than any other except in piety" so if he knows his onions he wouldn't claim to have "magic blood".

Even taking the englished version of everything http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emir i can't see how you arrived at magic blood from nobility even if you insist on continuing that translation of emir, it says it's an honorary title.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.