QInvest, Qatar’s leading investment bank and one of the most prominent Islamic financial institutions in the world, today unveiled its new strategy to deliver long term sustainable growth.
The new strategy has streamlined the bank into three divisions; Investment Banking, Principal Investments and Asset Management, in order to focus the business on its core product and service offers. QInvest has also strengthened a number of important operational areas. Complementing the recent strategic restructuring and efficiency initiatives, QInvest will work more closely with its largest shareholder, Qatar Islamic Bank (“QIB”), to access its unique market presence and network as well as its strong balance sheet.
Commenting on the new strategy, Mr Tamim Hamad Al-Kawari, Chief Executive Officer, QInvest said: “As investment markets around the world continue to evolve, it is essential that we further develop our strategy to build on our leading regional position and focus the business on the most lucrative market opportunities. We want to ensure we are structured to fully support Qatar and the wider region’s international investment plans as well as ensure we are recognised as the gateway for investors looking to access Qatar’s fast growing dynamic economy”.
He added: “In 2013, we focused on and have now completed the streamlining of the business. Our top-line growth strategy ensures we concentrate on those areas where we have strength and market differentiation. We have brought in a team of proven experts and specialists and scaled specific product and service areas. At the same time, we are working closely with QIB to create value for both institutions through our strategic partnership. We are already beginning to see the benefits of the new strategy emerge and I am confident that this will continue to deliver value for clients and shareholders in the months and years ahead.”
Michael Katounas, Head of Investment Banking, QInvest said:
“The QInvest brand is highly respected in its core regional and international markets and the firm continues to deploy capital in support of its clients’ ambitions. We have managed a steady flow of significant transactions over the course of the year including Kingdom Holding’s SAR 1.5 billion acquisition of a stake in 360Buy, Dar Al Arkan’s USD 450 million Sukuk, Hassad Food’s acquisition of the majority equity interest in India-based Bush Foods Overseas, Constellation’s acquisition of four French hotel assets totaling USD 950 million and the recent successful USD 1.25 billion sovereign Sukuk for the Government of Turkey, which was 6.2 times oversubscribed.
“Looking ahead, we have an exciting pipeline of deal-flow for the remainder of this year and into 2014. QInvest continues to have a strong international presence focused on its areas of expertise in the MENA region and Turkey through its regional network of offices, and in the UK through its strategic partnership with one of London’s leading brokerage firms, to which we remain fully committed.”
Michael added: “Our new strategy builds on the firm’s unique combination of permanent capital, regional execution capabilities through a world class team, and unparalleled reach in Qatar and the region. These factors set us apart from international and local peers”.
QInvest’s Investment Banking team is the largest in the Middle East and consists of seasoned professionals providing expertise in all areas of financing and advisory activities to corporate and institutional clients both regionally and internationally. The team is a trusted advisor to leading Qatari corporates in their outbound activities and serves as a gateway for companies to access Qatar’s international capital flows.
The firm has a strong advisory and financing pipeline across all its areas of expertise, which include Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Finance Advisory, ECM and Leveraged Finance, Real Estate Finance, Asset and Liability Management and Debt Restructuring. The division sees increasing levels of activity over the coming years and the opportunity to build on its position through the firm’s on-the-ground presence in Qatar, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“KSA”) and Turkey. In KSA in particular, the firm has taken the strategic decision to concentrate its efforts on advisory and placement mandates. QInvest also has excellent access to the UK IPO market through our strategic partnership with one of the most respected brokerages in the City of London. As capital markets recover in the UK, our partner is well positioned to advise clients on the primary and secondary markets.
Across the region, QInvest’s mid-market practice is complemented by the firm’s strong relationships with family offices and ability to use its own capital.
QInvest’s Sharia’a compliant financing business continues to win accolades from the industry, across both the Sukuk and Murabaha markets. Recent awards include Qatar’s Best Investment Bank at Euromoney’s 2012 Awards for Excellence and the Best Sukuk Structuring House in Qatar at the London Sukuk Summit 2013.
In April of this year, QInvest appointed Michael Katounas to lead its Investment Banking Division. Mr. Katounas has 15 years of regional and international experience, most recently with Credit Suisse where he led some of the largest transactions in the MENA region and Europe.
QInvest’s Principal Investments division pursues opportunities across a broad range of asset classes with the objective of creating value while ensuring principal protection. The team originates investment ideas by leveraging QInvest’s local and global network of relationships and ensures best-in-class deal execution through a focused team of experienced investment professionals.
QInvest is sector agnostic and deploys capital right across the capital structure, with a special focus on areas such as high-yielding Murabaha financing, convertible financing, subordinated structures and ‘hybrid’ financing, which best match the firm’s risk-return profile.
QInvest also specialises in management buy-outs and buy-ins, leveraged buy-outs and public to private transactions for businesses predominantly in the mid-market space. QInvest takes a long-term approach to its investments and partners with selected organisations to co-invest with.
Real estate will remain a focus of the firm and it will continue to pursue investments and provide comprehensive financial solutions for prime real estate transactions in the GCC, Europe and the USA, noting that these geographies can be amplified based on the opportunity and relationships we hold. QInvest acts as a both principal and arranger in the acquisition of controlling and non-controlling interests in direct real estate with typical equity or mezzanine investments being between $20 million and $100 million. QInvest is able to invest through numerous structures generally including mezzanine, preferred equity and equity, all of which are represented in transactions closed since 2010.
QInvest will also maintain its Sukuk trading portfolio, which acts as a key profit centre as well as a valuable link to capital markets trading information.
In addition to his role as CEO of QInvest, Tamim Hamad Al-Kawari will also serve as Head of Principal Investments, in close co-operation with the rest of QInvest’s senior management team.
Having successfully built and launched the QInvest Managed Account Platform (“QMAP”) earlier this year, QInvest’s Asset Management team has firmly established itself as one of the most highly regarded in the region. QMAP allows the firm to offer a highly diverse product range for Sharia’a compliant investors globally.
QMAP is unique in that it is the first fully Sharia’a compliant managed account platform, which allows the team to build and distribute custom products for clients across multiple asset classes. It provides investors with the opportunity to select from a range of high quality Sukuk and equity funds that are managed by top tier professional teams, both in-house and third party. The team has so far launched funds with top tier investment managers such as GAM, Edgewood Management and Eagle Capital Management, which have become the best performing funds in their space.
The QMAP team will be working with QIB to offer their client base access to QMAP funds as well as products which are built using QInvest’s world class platform.
QInvest Asset Management provides expertise in portfolio structuring, as well as an active advisory service, shaped around clients’ investment preferences and risk appetite. Services include:
• High quality equity and Sukuk funds from QMAP
• Multi-manager, multi-strategy portfolio solutions
• Discretionary and advisory portfolio management
• Portfolio review, analysis and investment recommendations
• Portfolio restructuring, disposal and risk overlays
Dr Ataf Ahmed continues to lead the Asset Management group, and is supported by a team drawn from top tier global institutions. The team’s efforts and innovation have earned them a number of accolades including being recently named “Best Islamic Fund Manager” by Global Finance as well as “Best New Investment Product” by The Banker Middle East.
Corporate and Social Responsibility
QInvest is committed to supporting the communities in which it operates. The firm has developed a corporate social responsibility programme that focuses on developing human capital to deliver long term sustainable growth and support the economic growth that Qatar and the region is witnessing. The firm recently participated in Kawader, a programme implemented by the Qatar Finance and Business Academy (‘QFBA’) in partnership with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority. The ultimate aim of Kawader is to support qualitative Qatarisation. It incorporates international best practices and promotes cooperation between the financial industry and academia to provide a pool of talented and highly qualified young Qataris who understand the requirements of the market.