Qatar sets-up $1bn energy infra vehicle

Nebras Power will target foreign power and water assets.

A trio of Qatari state-backed companies has launched a $1 billion vehicle that will target investments in the international power and water sectors. 

The new investment firm, known as Nebras Power, counts the Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QWEC) as its major shareholder, with 60 percent of the vehicle. Nebras Power’s two other shareholders are Qatar Holding, a subsidiary of the Gulf country’s sovereign wealth fund, and Qatar Petroleum International, the overseas investment unit of Qatar’s national energy company – each with 20 percent of the new vehicle. 

“Power generation is an important investment sector that is critical to support economic development and can provide attractive financial returns on investment,” Ahmad bin Mohammed Al-Sayed, managing director and chief executive of Qatar Holding, commented in a statement to the country’s stock exchange. 

Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed Saleh al-Sada told reporters yesterday that Nebras Power’s “initial capital will be $1 billion, with the idea to provide power outside Qatar”. “We will focus on the Middle East and parts of the Far East, including North Africa, where we feel there are opportunities for investment. This will include both greenfield and existing projects,” added QWEC general manager Fahad al-Mohannadi. 

Qatar has been increasingly active in overseas infrastructure investment. Its sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), made waves late last year when it plonked down £900 million (€1.06 billion; $1.4 billion) to acquire a 20 percent stake in the former BAA, the UK airports operator now known as Heathrow Airport Holdings. 

According to Reuters, QIA has hired Deven Karnik, formerly a top Asia executive at Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, to run its infrastructure business. A spokesperson from Morgan Stanley had confirmed Karnik’s departure to Infrastructure Investor in late March, but neither QIA nor Morgan Stanley could be reached to confirm his new position.