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Qatar wealth fund to sell entire Veolia stake worth $640 million

Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co., the property arm of Qatar Investment Authority, will sell about 26.1 million shares in the French utility

Gulf News

Dubai, London: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is selling a stake worth about $640 million (Dh2.35 billion) in Veolia Environnement SA, months after reducing holdings in Credit Suisse Group AG and Rosneft.

Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co., the property arm of Qatar Investment Authority, will sell about 26.1 million shares in the French utility, or around 4.6 per cent of share capital, according to a statement from the Doha-based firm. Veolia’s shares closed at 19.91 euros (Dh90.43) in Paris trading on Monday.

The planned sale comes after the QIA offloaded shares worth about $417 million in luxury jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co. in September and reduced its direct shareholding in Credit Suisse to 4.94 per cent in August. Qatar has been involved in a nine-month standoff with neighbouring states including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that has forced its sovereign fund to focus on the country’s economy and financial system. The QIA has injected billions of dollars into local banks as the ongoing campaign hurts lenders.

Set up by the QIA in 2005, Qatari Diar had a share capital of $7 billion as of last year, according to its website. It also has more than 39 projects and investments in Qatar and in 21 countries globally with a combined value of more than $35 billion.

The QIA, which was created to handle the windfall from the world’s largest liquefied natural gas export base, currently has about $320 billion of assets, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. The fund spent just $3.5 billion on investments last year, compared with $20 billion in 2016, according to the SWFI.

Qatari Diar will start the sale process for Veolia stake through an accelerated bookbuilding immediately and will announce the results of the sale once it closes, it said.

— Bloomberg

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