GULF & MIDDLE EAST VIEW

 
1- AROUND THE EMIRATES
2-
SAUDI ARABIA
3-
QATAR'S ROBUST ECONOMIC HEALTH BOON FOR INVESTORS
 

QATAR'S ROBUST ECONOMIC HEALTH BOON FOR INVESTORS

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Formation of DSM will offer tremendous opportunities

 

Edited by Amanullah Bashar
 Apr 04 - 10, 2005
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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 now.

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.

CASH DIVIDEND

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 shares.

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.

PRIZE

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)