Qatar: Arab investors not eyeing hostile take-over bids, says minister

Paris, 29 Oct. (AKI) - A Qatari minister said that Arab sovereign wealth funds have only a commercial aim and are not interested in hostile takeover bids of European companies at knock-down prices. "The sovereign wealth funds of the Gulf countries do not intend to take advantage of the financial crisis in order to run after European companies and buy them at low prices," Qatar's Minister of Commerce Fahad bin Jasim al-Thani told Adnkronos International (AKI).

"The sovereign wealth funds have only a commercial aim. Their objective is to diversify investments in order to have various sources of income, aside from oil. They do not aim to launch hostile takeover bids," said al-Thani.

"The entry of capital to Europe from Arab and Islamic countries will be crucial to limit the impact of this (economic) crisis," said al-Thani, agreeing with former Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema on this point.

But al-Thani emphasised "the need to completely redesign the world financial system."

"Arab investors are waiting for the right moment to strengthen their presence in European markets, but this can only occur if there is reciprocal interest."

Al-Thani (photo) was Wednesday guest of honour at a conference organised by the Franco-Arab Chamber of Commerce or CCFA, the Federation of Gulf Cooperating Council Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The event aimed to provide an insight into business and investment environment in the Gulf and in France tomajor firms as well as to small and medium size enterprises, banks and educational institutions.

"Economy Ministers of GCC countries have reaffirmed the good health of our credit institutions," al-Thani told the conference. He used the opportunity to launch an invitation to the European Union - which France currently presides- to push for a trade agreement between the EU and the GCC.

In regard to fluctuating world oil prices, al-Thani said these do not depend solely on supply and demand, but also on other factors such as speculation.


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