Qatar's capital market provides tremendous
opportunities for investors as the economy is in robust health and the
outlook remains extremely positive, speakers at an investment seminar
organized by Doha Bank at the Marriott, last Tuesday said.
Qatar's macroeconomic fundamentals are very strong,
said Doha Bank's acting general manager R. Seetharaman in his
introductory remarks. "While Qatar is rich in natural resources
what has significantly contributed to its amazing growth is the proper
utilization of these resources and the policy framework that has been
created to facilitate development."
He said a decade ago when Qatar sought huge funds
from the international market to set up mega projects, primarily in
the energy market, many wondered what was happening.
When one looked back, one could see the vision of
Qatari leadership who wanted to ensure adequate cash flow before
setting up leisure and life-enriching facilities.
"Qatar now emerges fast as one of the
wealthiest nations in the world. The GDP per capita may touch $100,000
in the next few years. If the current pace of development is
maintained it is no difficult task," said Seetharaman He said
Qatar's economic boom had definitely benefited the State's capital
market and individual companies.
"We at Doha Bank have immensely benefited from
Qatar's economic surge. Basically, we derive our strength from the
national economy which has time and again been given high sovereign
ratings by Moody's, Fitch and Capital Intelligence," he said.
Seetharaman said the opening up of the Doha
Securities Market (DSM) on April 3 will provide tremendous
opportunities to potential investors. Since investment in any capital
market is subject to risks, investors must explore a market's
fundamentals before making decisions.
Qatar's stability, proper investment climate,
investor-friendly laws and strong macroeconomic fundamentals should
encourage investors to have a very serious look at the local capital
market. He deliberated on how the financial landscape was changing —
globally, regionally and in Qatar. "Globalization, consumerism,
deregulation and technology are redefining the economies where the
financial landscape is becoming borderless."
The region in general and Qatar in particular has
adapted to changes to face the competition effectively and emerged out
as an attractive investment destination.
Seetharaman also spoke about the facilities being
set up by Doha Bank to assist potential investors at the DSM.
Doha Bank has already spruced up its 'Investment
Lounge' and is offering special incentives to expatriate investors as
DSM gets ready to receive them from April 3.
Being a DSM-registered brokerage firm, Doha Bank
has made arrangements to provide market information and modern trading
tools to expatriate investors as is being done to Qatari investors
The bank's brokerage division could assist
prospective investors in completing their registration formalities
with the DSM. New investors seeking Doha Bank service will be given a
credit card free of charge, free Info vest service for one year,
discounted loan to buy a personal computer and free car parking near
the Investment Lounge.
Seetharaman said Doha Bank had already aligned its
Info vest with DSM, which meant that customers would have updated
information on stock movement on their mobile phones or Personal
Digital Assistants (PDAs).
Doha Bank is the only Qatari bank to provide a
service such as Info vest, which is a market navigator. Currently,
Info vest subscribers get ready information on stocks from major
international stock markets such as New York, London, Singapore and
Mumbai among other places.
Doha Bank's senior manager (Investments) Dominic
Beange said the DSM index skyrocketed in the 2002-2005 period gaining
553%. During 2000-2002 the index grew only 24%.
So far this year the index has grown 68%. In 2002,
it had grown by 37%, by 70% in 2003 and 64% in 2004.
The market capitalization that stood at QR6 billion
in 1997 (on market opening) climbed to QR329 billion earlier this
month. Beange said while the opening up of the DSM need not
necessarily result in an increase in share value it will definitely
lead to an increase in the number of transactions. He also said Doha
Bank's investment lounge situated at Bank Saderat Iran building
adjacent to Doha Bank main branch on Grand Hamad Avenue was equipped
with all modern communication facilities.
The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has altered a Qatar
Islamic Bank (QIB) decision to give 25% cash dividend to its
shareholders for 2004.
QCB in a communication to the bank said it would
approve only 20% cash dividend to QIB shareholders for last year but
said it would not alter the bank's decision to distribute 50% bonus
Whereas DSM sources said "QCB made some
adjustments to the financial statement submitted by the Qatar Islamic
Bank which resulted in an alteration in the cash dividend payout to
shareholders for last year".
The bonus issue, however, will raise the bank's
capital to QR585 million. Again the proposals on cash dividend as well
as bonus shares will be submitted to the QIB annual general meeting
slated for April 11.
QIB had posted full-year net profits of QR302
million last year, up 108.3% on 2003. The bank's assets have gone up
to QR7.7 billion in 2004, which registers a 37.8% increase over 2003.
MINISTER MEETS MISSION
The Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Mohamed
bin Ahmed al-Thani received a delegation comprising members of the
Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) and the Federation of Arab
Businessmen (FAB) at his office last Monday. The delegation comprised
Hamdi al-Tabbaa, chairman of FAB and Jordanian Businessmen Association
and former minister of industry and trade; Thabet Taher, secretary
general, FAB and former minister of energy and mineral resources; Ali
Youssef, general manager, FAB; Hussein Alfardan, deputy chairman of
QBA; Issa Abu Issa, secretary general, QBA; Omar Hamad al-Mana, QBA
board member; and Bassam R Massouh, QBA general manager. Many economic
issues such as increasing Qatari-Jordanian business co-operation and
promoting investment opportunities between the two countries were
discussed at the meeting.
Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco) has won the
prize for the best stand at the recently concluded 7th Arab
International Plastic & Rubber Industry expo - Arabplast in Dubai.
Qapco also received two more awards from Arabplast
organizers Al Fajr Company for sponsoring the event.
Qapco vice-chairman and general manager Hamad
Rashid al-Mohannadi received the awards.
Some 300-industry leaders from 20 countries had
participated in Arabplast, which was inaugurated by Sheikh Hasher bin
Maktoum al-Maktoum, director of Dubai's department of information. The
Qapco delegation comprised among others Mohamed Jassim al-Na'ama,
public relations manager, Abdulrahman al-Abdulla, marketing manager,
Saud al-Jaidah, assistant marketing manager (Sales) and Ibrahim al-Mulla,
director of Qapco's commercial office in Dubai. The Qapco office in
Dubai was inaugurated in December last year by HE Abdullah bin Hamad
al-Attiyah, Second Deputy Premier.
(Courtesy Gulf Times)