Business buddies Qatar to invest billions in German companies

The Arabic oil nation, a shareholder in VW and Deutsche Bank, will make new investments in Germany, Qatar’s finance minister said. The figure runs into the billions of euro.
The emir will bring a big, fat checkbook.

Qatar already owns stakes in VW, Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Hochtief and Solarworld, but that isn’t enough for the Arabic exporter of oil and natural gas. When Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Friday, he will announce new investments.

“We view Germany as a crucial player in the global economy and are very optimistic about the German market,” Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi told Handelsblatt.“Our delegation will announce new, large investments." Investments will total several billion euro, according to diplomatic and business sources.

Over the past 30 years, Qatar spent more than $20 billion in Germany, from listed companies to real estate, through the $340-billion heavy sovereign wealth fund the Qatar Investment Authority.

Siemens, Deutsche Bahn and other German firms do business in the oil nation, which has spent billions on its infrastructure. Qatar, which will host the 2022 Fifa soccer world cup, is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas.

Germany supported Qatar in June 2017, when Saudi Arabia and allies such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates hit Qatar with sanctions and severed all relations. Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of funding terrorist organizations and supporting Iran.

Despite losses in some of its investments, such as Deutsche Bank and insolvent solar panel maker Solarward, Qatar was satisfied with its German businesses, al-Emadi said. The Qatar Investment Fund, as well as non-state companies from Qatar, are also interested in stakes in so-called Mittelstand companies, which are often family-owned, specialized businesses, the finance minister said.

Mathias Brüggmann is the head of Handelsblatt’s foreign affairs desk. To contact the author: [email protected]