QFIB acquires prime properties in Central London

QFIB announces the acquisition of two properties in prime locations in Central London

Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB), Qatar’s first independent Shari’ah compliant investment bank authorized by the QFC Regulatory Authority, announces the acquisition of two properties in prime locations in Central London – The Leinster Inn Hotel at Leinster Square, and Westbourne House, Westbourne Grove, London.

QFIB has acquired these prime properties in association with a consortium of investors from the GCC.  The two transactions were structured and managed by the Bank’s Strategic Investments Team. The objective of these acquisitions is to capitalise on the growing demand for real estate in Central London by converting both properties into high-end luxury residential apartments.  The consortium has appointed the Alchemi Group, a leading property development company in the UK, as the Development Manager.

Emad Mansour, CEO of QFIB said: “We are pleased with these two acquisitions in spite of the fact that they are outside our target geographical market.  Due to the growing global demand for London’s prime residential property sector, these deals presented themselves as an attractive opportunity for QFIB to enter the UK market. We are optimistic that once the conversion of the properties is complete, they will be attractive to international buyers who are looking to invest in prime properties which in return will yield substantial returns to our investors”.

The Leinster Inn is a grade II building that dates back to 1857.  This terraced building spans 31,500 square feet and is located in the heart of the Bayswater Conservation Area in the City of Westminster.  Located in nearby Westbourne Grove is Westbourne House, a 1980’s office building, which features 35,047 square feet of high quality office and retail space.

London property prices have outperformed the wider mainstream market in recent years, underpinned by continued demand from local and overseas buyers, despite the economic turmoil since the financial crisis.  Knight Frank forecasts this trend to continue, particularly in areas that will benefit from improved transport links, regeneration, and increased demand.

QFIB raises equity stake in Al Rifai to 35%

QFIB has increased its equity stake in Al Rifai International Holding (Al Rifai) to 35%

Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB), Qatar’s independent Islamic investment bank authorized by QFC Regulatory Authority, has increased its equity stake in Al Rifai International Holding (Al Rifai) to 35%. Al Rifai is the leading manufacturer of nuts and kernels, light snacks and delicacy in the Middle East with operation in Europe.

Emad Mansour, Chief Executive Officer of QFIB commented, “Since acquiring a 15% stake in Al Rifai late December of last year, the company has shown positive growth prospects. We strongly believe that Al Rifai has the right setup to venture into new markets and diversify its product range. We are very optimistic with our investment in Al Rifai Holding.”

Al Rifai’s total wholesale-performance recorded a 63.2% year on year growth during H1 2012. The company’s export-sales also registered a 66% growth for H1 2012, when compared to the same period last year. Since January 2012, the holding company has succeeded in opening 5 new outlets in Lebanon, reaching a total of 50 points of sales.

Al Rifai is currently seeking to increase its production capacity in Lebanon to reach 10,000 tons replicating the European state -of- the art plant in order to meet the increase in local and foreign demand. The new factory will open during 2nd quarter of 2013.

Mohamed Al Rifai, Chairman and CEO of Al Rifai International Holding said:     ”We strongly welcome the increase of QFIB’s share in Al Rifai. The increased stake by QFIB will enable Al Rifai to effectively manage risks, enhance corporate governance and ultimately facilitate growth. We look forward to continue working alongside QFIB’s team to further enhance the group’s performance and expand its operations.”

Late in December 2011, QFIB acquired 15% stake in Al Rifai. The deal marked QFIB’s debut investment venture in the F&B manufacturing industry reiterating the Bank’s prudent investment strategy that focuses on sectorial and geographic diversification