Qatari Diar, the real estate arm of the Gulf emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, has bought five percent of French utilities company Veolia Environnement.
The deal is being billed as a long-term strategic partnership between the two parties which will see both partners work together on utilities projects across North Africa and the Middle East. Qatari Diar will have full voting rights with a representative appointed to Veolia Environnement’s board of directors. It plans to hold its stake and voting rights in the French utility over the next three years, Veolia Environnement said in a statement.
Veolia Environnement is Qatari Diar’s second investment in French infrastructure companies after it signed a long-term strategic partnership with infrastructure group VINCI. That deal, which entered into force last week, saw Qatari Diar acquire a 5.78 percent stake in VINCI, making it the company’s largest shareholder following its employee pension fund.
For Veolia Evironnement, which recorded revenues of over €34 billion last year, this new partnership will allow it to expand its presence in the Middle East, where it already has another partnership with the Emirati Mubadala Fund, to cooperate on projects in the water sector.
Qatari Diar, fully-owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, has over $60 billion invested in 35 projects across 20 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. It was founded in 2005.