|NYSE expands presence in the Gulf with the new Qatar Exchange|
After a year of negotiations, Qatar Holding and NYSE Euronext have entered a strategic partnership that creates the Qatar Exchange. The new exchange will replace the Doha Securities Market and has ambitious goals: to establish the Persian Gulf's most modern and second largest trading market. It was also a bold investment for the NYSE, which already operates the New York, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Lisbon and Brussels stock exchanges. Its 20% share in the new exchange cost US$ 200 million — the NYSE's largest investment ever outside the United States and Europe.
The NYSE will be entitled to 11 seats on the new exchange's board of directors. Six members will be designated by the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), in addition to two independent representatives. "The international markets may have faced uncertainties, but we are continuing to focus on future opportunities", commented sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar.
The Qatar Exchange was created in 1995 and began its activities two years later, with 18 listed companies. Forty-two companies are currently traded, adding up to a market value of US$ 75.3 billion. In 2000, that number was a mere US$ 5.2 billion. Even though it is one of the smallest countries in the Gulf region, Qatar stands out for concentrating 5% of the world's gas reserves and recording an average 25% GDP growth over the last five years. Qatar expects to become the second largest Gulf economy by 2015, thereby justifying the investment in the local capital market's development.