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Qatar to invest $8 bln in Libyan companies

(Reuters)
Filed on June 26, 2008

TRIPOLI - Qatar will invest about $8 billion in Libyan companies in the financial services, energy and real estate sectors, officials from the North African OPEC oil exporter said on Thursday.

Libya, with a population of 5 million and the biggest oil reserves in Africa, is moving to modernise, but faces an uphill struggle in a command economy where cash is still king, firms battle to get credit and politics dictate the progress of reform.

Visiting Qatari ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi watched as officials from both countries finalised the accords late on Wednesday, according to officials, who declined to be identified.

Barwa Real Estate Co, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority's $40 billion property wing, agreed a $2 billion deal with state-owned Libyan Development and Investment Co to develop leisure, commercial and residential facilities, the officials said.

Separately, Barwa said in a regulatory filing on the Doha bourse website on Thursday its international arm would invest in an energy project.

The two countries also agreed to set up a $2 billion joint investment fund, a $600 million Libyan-Qatari bank and a $300 million sport and services project, the officials said, declining to give further details.

Libya and Qatar also signed other accords on energy and water projects.

The deals are the latest between Qatar and Libya. The Gulf Arab nation, the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas and an oil exporter is looking to diversify its economy from hydrocarbons.

Qatar National Bank and Masraf al-Rayan two of Qatar's largest lenders have either opened or are planning to open offices in Libya.

In February, Qatar Diar Real Estate Development, the real estate arm of the country's sovereign wealth fund, set up a joint venture real estate firm with the Libyan government to invest in the North African country.





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