The state of Qatar has agreed to sell 25% of the Doha stock market to NYSE Euronext for 160 million euros. With the deal Qatar hopes to become the financial hub of the Middle East and extend its global links.
NYSE Euronext apparently offered more than the other interested party – the London Stock Exchange – in which Qatar’s state investment fund owns a 15%.
Several bourses in the oil-rich region are moving to modernise and expand. Qatar’s stock market is relatively small with the value of the shares trade there just 1.4 billion euros, just behind Kuwait at 1.6 billion and well behind the largest in the region, Saudi Arabia, with seven billion euros of shares traded.
This is the largest ever investment in a foreign exchange by NYSE Euronext. Western exchanges are looking to boost their presence in booming emerging markets amid a slowdown in European and American economies.
Qatar has a population of just one million and is the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Under the deal, the bourse will upgrade its technology and operate under international standards of accounting and financial reporting.