Shareholder of the United Development Company, the developer of The Pearl-Qatar, last night agreed to sell Qatar’s General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority shares worth QAR 1.6 billion, making it a “strategic partner.”
In order to approve the acquisition, shareholders also had to agree to delete a clause in UDC’s articles of association that “no natural or corporate person is allowed to own more than 10% of the total company shares,” Gulf Times reports.
Although unspecified, the 110 million shares acquired by the state-owned retirement fund likely give it a controlling stake in UDC.
Speculation has been rife that the General Retirement Authority’s investment into UDC is the reason behind The Pearl-Qatar’s sudden ban on alcohol last December. UDC has yet to confirm this though, and we haven’t been able to clarify if the Pension Authority is, in fact, governed by Islamic finance principals, which would prohibit it from investing in businesses that permit alcohol (anyone know?).
UDC officials previously stated the ban was temporary, although a few weeks ago two restaurants that previously served alcohol on The Pearl – Megu and Tse Yang – were forced to close. Other restaurants on UDC’s flagship property have reported significant revenue losses since the ban.
Adding to the confusing, in January, United Development Company’s President and Managing Director Khalil Sholy announced his resignation.
What do you think? Is the fresh cash infusion likely to stabilize Qatar’s highest-profile property development?
Credit: Photo by Xavier Bouchevreau