A PREMIUM PORTFOLIO

Qatar 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Having developed a strong industrial base from which to expand, Al Faisal is now looking at a number of export markets with potential.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani
BIOGRAPHY
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani is one of Qatar’s most successful businessmen and has built Al Faisal Holding into one of Qatar’s largest privately held diversified groups with operations across local, regional, and international markets. He is also Chairman of Aamal Company and the Chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association, and a Member of the Board at Qatar University, Business College of DePaul University (US), and the American School of Doha.

As one of the biggest conglomerates in Qatar, how do the financial results of Aamal reflect the resilience of the economy in spite of the blockade?

Qatar's economy recorded a remarkable performance in 2018, with GDP higher than the previous year. This clearly demonstrates the resilience and strength of the economy resulting from the successful implementation of the government's strategy to drive economic diversification. By driving Qatar's economic self-sufficiency and expanding Qatar's international trading relationships, this strategy also clearly mitigates any effects of the blockade. As one of the most diversified groups in Qatar, Aamal's business strategy and objectives are aligned with the government's, and our performance in the first nine months of 2018 reflects that, with the delivery of a net profit of USD92.447 million. This further demonstrates the underlying resilience of the private sector in Qatar, as well as Aamal's expertise and ability in identifying and seizing the right opportunities that our strong local economy provides. Our three latest industrial projects in copper, aluminum, and drum materials manufacturing are in line with our strategy to target opportunities to further diversify our industrial manufacturing division by taking first-mover advantage into sectors that offer strong growth potential and complement our current businesses. This approach is enabled by and aligned with the government's objectives for Qatar's economic and industrial diversification. Aamal is always on the lookout for potential investment opportunities in our target markets, especially within the industrial manufacturing sector. In this way, we continuously seek to provide innovative projects that add value to the local economy and contribute to its continuing diversification.

How can we expect the international investment portfolio of the company to develop?

After focusing our businesses on Qatar for four decades, we have achieved a strong foundation that will provide a solid base for our international expansion. We have focused our international investments in real estate development, acquisition, and leasing, with a primary focus on the hospitality sector. Al Faisal Holding has expanded its international investment through Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC), the hospitality arm of Al Faisal Holding. ARTIC aims to achieve sustainable growth through geographic expansion and diversification in key cities around the world, creating a portfolio of premium hotels, which includes 26 properties in Qatar and the MENA region, Europe, and the US.

What are the most appealing sectors for industrial diversification?

One major advantage of Qatar is the presence of competitively priced raw materials, including secure energy supplies. The government considers industrial development an integral part of its plan to diversify the economy through leveraging its huge natural gas reserves and strongly supports local investment in the manufacturing sector. In addition to the government's plan to invest in several downstream industries related to oil and gas, it also encourages private companies to invest in setting up local manufacturing and assembly facilities, spurred by large-scale infrastructure development. Aamal has established a strong industrial base that it continues to build upon, and we are in a strong position to explore opportunities related to the manufacturing of industrial products that depend on locally available raw materials to fulfill growing local demand before expanding to neighboring and international markets. A strong factor that supports this is the new Hamad Seaport, which has had a positive impact on Qatar's growth as a regional trading hub for various industrial activities in the Middle East.

What have been some of Aamal and Al Faisal Holding's major achievements?

Our economic contribution is having introduced innovative projects and product solutions. Our business model, including our diversification strategy and innovative projects, has attracted leading foreign investors and provided talented youth with promising job opportunities. In addition, our companies' projects have changed the face of the country in the sectors in which we operate. Both support activities that boost awareness of best business practices, governance, and environmental issues, while empowering people and providing training and safety awareness programs to employees.