Wikileaks: Qatari food company adapts investment strategy to concerns of partner countries
Viewing cable 09DOHA552, QATARI FOOD COMPANY ADAPTS INVESTMENT STRATEGY TO
DE RUEHDO #0552/01 2460941
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 030941Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9370
INFO RUEHC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L DOHA 000552
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/30/2019
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD PGOV PREL EINV TRGY QA AS SU
SUBJECT: QATARI FOOD COMPANY ADAPTS INVESTMENT STRATEGY TO
CONCERNS OF PARTNER COUNTRIES
REF: DOHA 446
Classified By: CDA Mirembe L. Nantongo for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
(C) KEY POINTS
-- (U) Qatar's Hassad Food Company has received
international praise for its business plan, investing in
developing countries' companies rather than just purchasing
their land, according to a local newspaper.
-- (U) Hassad's Chairman has commissioned a study of
Qatar's food needs to be completed within the next month
and expects his company's products to enter the market
within the next 1 to 2 years.
-- (C) A Hassad Food advisor explained to Emboff September
3 that the company tailors its involvement in each country
to the preferences of its partner in order to minimize
local "backlash" to the company's actions.
-- Hassad's efforts to forge durable arrangements with
companies in agriculturally rich countries is further
evidence of the priority Qatar, which imports over 90
percent of its food, attaches to food security. The extent
to which Hassad goes to accommodate its partners is a
reflection of this importance.
-- Food security issues present opportunities for
cooperation between the U.S. and Qatar, and the latter has
recently engaged Embassy on this subject (Reftel).
End Key Points and Comment.
¶1. (U) A local Qatari newspaper carried an article August
31 praising the investment strategy of Qatar's Hassad Food
Company. Hassad's decision to purchase shares in local
agricultural companies instead of expropriating the
agricultural land of poorer countries exclusively for
Qatar's own purposes has met with international acclaim,
according to the newspaper. Hassad Chairman and Managing
Director Nasser Mohamed Al-Hajri emphasized that his
company is "looking for opportunities where we can work
with partners...We do not want to take away the land of the
¶2. (U) At an August press conference, Al-Hajri said Hassad
allocated 500 million USD for investment in agricultural
companies worldwide. He stated that he expects his
company's first products to reach the world market within
the next 1-2 years. Al-Hajri also reported that Hassad
hired a consultant to prepare a study on Qatar's food
needs, which will be completed within the next month.
¶3. (C) Dr. Hamad Al-Saad, an Adviser for Hassad Food,
expounded on his company's investment strategy in a
September 3 phone call with Emboff Miller. He said Hassad
is working to create a "win-win situation," where both the
company and the countries in which it invests benefit.
Al-Saad emphasized the importance Hassad attached to
minimizing local "backlash" to its presence.
¶4. (C) In order to create more stable and enduring
relationships, Hassad tailors the nature of its involvement
to the desires of its prospective partners, according to
Al-Saad. He said that the company buys land based on the
preferences of its partners, as in Australia, and buys
shares in local companies where that mode of investment is
desired, as in Sudan.
¶5. (C) Al-Saad also reported that Hassad recruits Qatari
humanitarian organizations to become involved in countries
where it does business. The purpose of this, according to
him, is to avoid developing an "intimidating" image in the
eyes of local populations, thereby facilitating their
acceptance of Hassad's presence in their countries.
Al-Saad said such actions are part and parcel of doing "the
right thing all the way."
¶6. (U) Hassad Food Company is a 1 billion USD firm
established in 2008 and owned by the Qatar Investment
Authority, the Gulf nation's sovereign wealth fund. The
firm is charged with ensuring Qatar's food security through
a strategy of diversification, investing locally and in
Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Its biggest
project to date is a 300 million Qatari Riyal poultry farm
in Qatar that meets 22 percent of local demand. Hassad is
currently exploring investment possibilities with companies
in Australia and Sudan.
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