Fund results point to Qatar’s growing investment role
Increasingly influential in regional politics, Qatar is also delivering on the economic front. And then there is the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Interim six-month results from the Qatar Investment Fund plc (QIF), which targets Qatar and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region, show a slight rise in net asset value (NAV), with a strong economic outlook underpinning the fund.
The QIF, one of the few ways to access the super-rich and fast-growing Gulf state, trades on the London Stock Exchange, having moved up from the Alternative Investment Market, where it had been quoted since its July 2007 launch. The move allowed the fund to raise its profile and widen its investor base. It now has a strong following of institutional and high net-worth investors both regionally and globally.
Results to 31 December 2011 showed profit after tax of $10.5m, equivalent to basic earnings per share of 4.53 cents. Net asset value per share was $1.05 ($1.03 at 30 June 2011), after a dividend paid in October 2011 of 2.7 cents per share. At the end of Q4 2011, the share price was trading at a 15.4% discount to NAV.
Beacon of stability
Fund chairman David von Simson said the Qatar Stock Exchange has been “a beacon of stability” over the six months in contrast to volatility elsewhere in the region.
“This reinforced Qatar’s reputation as a refuge for investors at a time of anaemic growth in Western economies. Qatari markets are trading at attractive valuations, relative to their earnings growth potential and profitability.”
Stockbroker Panmure Gordon says the fund’s NAV at end December stood at $1.05, compared to the current share price of $0.88. It adds: “More recently, QIF published an NAV to 19 January of $1.0131, which implies the stock is trading on a 13% discount.
“This appears anomalous to us given the superior GDP growth of Qatar against other Middle Eastern economies, and the superior company EPS growth in Qatar. We therefore reiterate our Buy recommendation.”