Qatari Diar (QD) is one of the major real estate companies in Qatar, belonging to the Qatari Investment Authority (QIA). The company was founded in 2005 to support the country’s growing economy and to implement real estate development projects inside and outside Qatar.
QIA is a sovereign wealth fund that serves local and foreign investments. It was established by the Qatari Government in 2005 to manage the surpluses of oil and natural gas. QIA’s assets range between $100bn and $200bn.
As of January 2012, Qatari Diar is capitalised at $4bn and has more than 49 projects under development or planning in Qatar and in 29 countries around the world, with a combined value of over $35bn.
The company’s first project was the Lusail City project in north Doha in December 2005, which is considered the largest city in the world according to the sustainability criteria. In 2008 the company launched Lusail Real Estate Development Company to give the project more autonomy in order to accelerate the work’s pace in different areas of the city.
In November 2009, Qatari Diar established the Qatar Railways Development Company.
Qatari Diar’s projects in Egypt
QD has two major projects in Egypt. One of them extends along the Nile corniche, and the other is a big hotel in Sharm El-Sheikh. There are no accurate figures for QD’s total investments portfolio in Egypt.
The Nile Corniche project is one of the biggest QD projects in Egypt, in which the company is building St. Regis Hotel Tower at 180 metres (591 ft) tall, to be the tallest building in Egypt when complete. The hotel is expected to accommodate more than 300 rooms. This building will be accompanied by its two smaller twins, which will also be the second and third tallest buildings in Egypt.
The company began working on the project in 2012, with costs reaching $1bn. According to a company’s announcement, the hotel was expected to be opened in 2014.
In 2012 QD announced the launch of a major touristic project in North and South Sinai. During Mohamed Morsi’s time in office, the Egyptian cabinet approved QD’s offer to build a tourist resort in Sharm El-Sheikh with a total area of 43,000 m². The project cost was $2.16 for each metre and the company has paid $49.125m as a first batch. The cost of the first phase of QD’s project was estimated at EGP 16bn, according to previous statements by the Ministry of Tourism.
In a public auction in 2006, Qatari Diar won a piece of Sinai Peninsula land sold by the government-owned Zahra Company. The acquisition came before law no. 350 was passed in 2007, which only legalised “usufruct” for a period of nine years. The law was then applied on the company.
Surprisingly, in 2014, the Egyptian cabinet opened fire on QD over alleged irregularities in the payment of the EGP 16bn for the first phase of the Sinai project.
The cabinet formed an investment dispute settlement committee to investigate the situation. According to privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, the committee said that QD has failed to pay approximately EGP 750m.
Meanwhile, in June 2014, Anadolu news agency reported that QAI was in talks with the Egyptian government to kick off a big residential project that includes the construction of one million housing units in Egypt, aiming to support people with low incomes0. The project would be implemented by QD.