MULTI-FACETED DEVELOPER

Qatar 2019 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

Active in 22 countries with a working capital of USD40 billion, Qatari Diar is working closely with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy to ensure the success of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Abdullah bin Hamad  Al Attiyah
BIOGRAPHY
Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah holds a master’s in chemical engineering from the University of Nottingham and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Cardiff University. He started his career with Qatar Petroleum as an operations engineer until 2011, when he moved to RasGas as a senior project engineer. Later in 2015, he became director of the technical office at the Public Works Authority and was appointed as Vice Chairman of Qatar Primary Materials Company in 2018. In January 2017, he was appointed as a board member of Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and later became its CEO in July 2018.

Qatar is working to have stronger business relations with countries beyond the GCC region. What is the role of Qatari Diar in this regard?

Qatari Diar is the real estate investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Our working capital is around USD40 billion, and we are active in 22 countries across five continents. In Africa, we are present in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Sudan, and in Asia, we operate in Turkey and Malaysia. In Europe, we are mostly focused on the UK, where we have our own offices and work as developers. In the UK and the US, we have a combined working capital of around USD10 billion. We follow a growth strategy that mainly focuses on mature markets such as Europe and America. At present, we are seeking to enter Germany, which is an interesting market. Qatari Diar's business model does not limit it to invest in solid businesses with high feasibility prospects; we also want to contribute to the communities and countries where we are active as developers. A great example is the development of downtown Washington DC,, which used to have a high crime rate and community issues; however, things started to improve after we carried out the development project. We work internationally either by participating as a capital investor or a partner—which is mostly done in the US, where we do not have a development team and work with international mega-developers with a local know-how, such as Hines and Tishman. Notably, we have an actual presence as a developer in the UK, where we also engage in joint ventures. We are currently handling two projects without any partners in the UK: Chelsea Barracks and the former US embassy in Mayfair—currently known as Rosewood Hotel. We have mega-development projects in London, Manchester, and other areas within the UK. In sum, our strategy is to grow and maximize our economic benefits while being mindful of the communities in which we are working; we refer to such projects as transformative projects. Qatar, as a country, is keen to make global investments, and we have been doing the same since our inception in 2005.

How close is the completion of the development project of Lusail City, and what further investments can we expect?

All our infrastructure projects in Lusail will be completed by 2020. Lusail will be a one-of-a-kind smart city covering an area of 38sqkm, housing up to 450,000 people. Lusail's football stadium will host the final match of the 2022 World Cup, and the stadium will be surrounded by restaurants, shopping centers, metro station, and other facilities. Qatari Diar will invest more than QAR10 billion for the construction of buildings—specifically in retail establishments and some offices. Lusail is an extension of Doha, and a highway connects the two. It will contribute to the growth envisaged in the Qatar National Vision 2030 and serve as a catalyst for further investments. Plots of land will be offered on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model for three activities: schools, hospitals, and entertainment. For example, an aqua park will be built, and we expect a number of similar establishments to be constructed by local and international investors. The company also works closely with the Qatar Tourism Authority to make sure its strategic needs are met. A new law will come into effect soon that will give Qatari Diar free rein in the area of international investment. Qatar is one of the safest places in the world; people leave their homes and cars unlocked, and there are no problems. All in all, the World Cup will showcase many of Qatar's unique qualities.

What is Qatari Diar's outlook for 2019?

In Qatar, we will work hard to secure the contracts to develop Lusail's commercial avenues. Globally, we will continue to carry out more projects. Furthermore, we will maintain Qatari Diar's growth rate and fulfill all the objectives set by our board of directors.