Epicure Qatar Equity Opportunities plc
Quarterly Update to Quarter End December 2010
Report to Shareholders
A FORMATTED VERSION OF THIS REPORT IS AVAILABLE FROM THE COMPANY ADMINISTRATOR, GALILEO FUND SERVICES LIMITED, ISLE OF MAN UPON REQUEST. PLEASE CONTACT email@example.com TO REQUEST A COPY.
Epicure Qatar Equity Opportunities plc
Investment Advisers Report - Quarterly Update to Quarter End December 2010
Epicure Qatar Equity Opportunities plc ("the Company" or "EQEO") was established to capitalise on attractive investment opportunities in Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council ("GCC") region resulting from the economic boom being experienced in the area. The Company seeks to invest in quoted Qatari equities listed on the Qatar Exchange (formerly the Doha Securities Market ("DSM"), in addition to companies soon to be listed, with a possible allocation of up to 15 per cent in other regional GCC listed companies. The Investment Adviser invests using a top-down screening process along with fundamental industry and company analysis.
Qatar was the best performing GCC market in 2010, with the QE index rising 24.8 per cent. For the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2010, the QE index returned 12.8 per cent buoyed by positive sentiment arising from Qatar's winning bid to host the 2022 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. The index rose rising by 6.6 per cent in December alone.
Oman was the region's second best performing market in the fourth quarter, with a 4.4 per cent return. It was the third best performing index in the GCC in 2010, up 6.1 per cent.
2009's best performing market, Saudi Arabia, maintained its positive momentum, returning 8.2 per cent for the year and 3.6 per cent for the fourth quarter.
The rest of the GCC market indices showed negative returns in 2010. With the exception of Abu Dhabi, all other indices ended the fourth quarter in negative territory. Abu Dhabi returned 1.7 per cent during the quarter and ended the year down 0.9 per cent.
As expected, investors shied away from the Dubai market in 2010 on the back of the debt debacle and the real estate melt down. Dubai ended both the year and the fourth quarter as the worst performing GCC market, down 9.6 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.
Kuwait and Bahrain fell by 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.comfor a table depicting GCC Equity Market Performance
Source: Reuters, Qatar Insurance Company S.A.Q.
The Investment Adviser anticipates that the forthcoming fourth quarter 2010 Qatari company results will have a positive impact on the bourse and that, longer term, Qatar will continue to demonstrate strong economic growth.
Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA world Cup
On 2 December 2010, FIFA selected Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, the preparations for which will entail substantial infrastructure spending over the next decade. Official estimates put planned spending at around US$55bn, but the analyst community expects the actual cost to be in the range of US$65-100bn.
To put this in perspective, US$65bn of infrastructure spending is equivalent to some 80% of projects completed in Qatar since 2002 and approximately 150 per cent of the nominal gross fixed capital formation forecast for 2010. This also represents 53 per cent of forecast 2010 GDP and 120 per cent of forecast 2010 non-oil GDP.
The first phase of the construction of the new US$10bn airport, dubbed the New Doha Airport, is well underway and will eventually replace the existing one. The first phase of the project is scheduled to open in late 2011 or early 2012, with later phases being rolled out between 2012 and 2027. Once completed, the new airport will have the capacity to cater for 24 million passengers per annum.
Other prominent projects include a US$7bn deep water seaport and a US$1bn crossing to link the new airport with projects in the northern part of Doha. An additional US$20bn will also be spent to build and expand the road network. Moreover, there are currently several housing projects underway and plans to start others to accommodate Qatar's ballooning population, which at 1.7 million, has witnessed a 128 per cent increase since 2004.
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.comfor a table depicting major projects underway in Qatar. Source MEED projects.
A US$4bn stadium building programme will see the construction of nine new eco-friendly, cutting-edge football stadiums and the expansion of the three existing ones. The programme includes the construction of the 86,000-seater Lusail Stadium, which will host the tournament's opening and final matches.
Additionally, Qatar will build over 80,000 new hotel rooms by 2022. FIFA requires that the host country has a minimum of 60,000 hotel rooms. As Qatar's total room capacity by the end of 2010 is likely to be just 10,000-15,000, Doha has pledged to have 80,000-90,000 available by 2022. Qatar is therefore committed to building more than 70,000 hotel rooms over the next 12 years.
The Investment Adviser believes that Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup is transformational for the equity market, providing comfort that robust economic growth will be higher for longer and muting concerns that Qatar's investment story relates solely to maturing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) investment.
Qatar's GDP grows by 21.1pc in Q3
Qatar witnessed an impressive year-on-year economic growth rate of 21.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2010. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates for Q3 2010 stand at QR111.25bn as against QR91.85bn in Q3 2009.
The Q3 2010 GDP estimates demonstrate substantial economic recovery even when compared to the previous quarter. The third quarter is estimated to have grown by an impressive 13.1 per cent over the second quarter of 2010, when GDP was estimated at QR98.38bn. The estimate indicates that the mining and quarrying sector, which includes the oil and gas industry, represented over 52 per cent of GDP and continued to dominate growth in Q3 2010. The noticeable jump in LNG production during the third quarter of 2010 compared to the second was one of the major drivers of the economic recovery. There has been a broad-based increase in the production of hydrocarbon products, with LNG accounting for the largest share of 28 per cent followed by Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) with 22 per cent.
The Q3 2010 GDP figures show a very strong increase in real estate, insurance, financial services, manufacturing and construction activities over the corresponding period of the previous year.
Construction picked up marginally, by 1.9 per cent year-on-year. Quarter-on-quarter, the sector maintained a growth rate of about 3 per cent. The Investment Adviser sees this as a positive development as Doha is pressing ahead with a series of large-scale government-backed construction projects. This is keeping the country's construction sector buoyant, while awards elsewhere in the region are tapering off. The Investment Adviser anticipates that, going forward, construction sector growth should further accelerate since Qatar is currently tendering contracts totaling more than $1bn for state-backed construction projects.
Non-oil GDP should show further momentum on the back of increased state spending on the local economy, as evidenced by the growth in the first three quarters of the year. The Investment Adviser views the third quarter GDP performance as positive and expects both the oil and non-oil sectors to accelerate over the first half of 2011.
Overall, Qatar's economy is again expected to be among the fastest growing worldwide in 2011. The IMF estimates 2010 and 2011 real GDP growth at 16 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, the highest in the world, thanks to ongoing investment in the LNG industry. It is now confirmed that some of the projects which were put on hold at the peak of the financial meltdown will now be completed in the run up to 2022. Longer term, the government is expected to maintain high levels of capital spending on education, health and transport. Population growth is projected to remain strong because of the infrastructure build up for the World Cup.
Qatar marks LNG milestone, sees more output gains
During the fourth quarter, Qatar hit the landmark of 77 mtpa of LNG production capacity coming online, underscoring its ranking as the world's largest LNG exporter. According to the Energy Minister, Abdullah al-Attiyah, a further increase in capacity of as much as 10 mtpa may be achieved if Qatar can improve efficiency at its production units.
Qatar plans to double condensate output
Qatar plans to double condensate output to some 680,000-750,000 barrels a day by 2014, according to the state-run Qatar News Agency. Qatar currently produces 350,000 barrels of condensate a day. Annual output of liquefied petroleum gas may reach 13 million metric tons by 2014.
After the country won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, thus becoming the first Arab country to host the tournament, the Qatari market performed strongly, gaining 6.6 per cent in December. Some stocks, however - mainly those trading at a discount to the broader market - recorded double digit gains after the announcement led to a market rerating. The Investment Adviser believes that the Doha market will rerate further in due course, in line with the broader MENA region.
The Investment Adviser believes that the Qatari stock market is still undervalued and provides highly attractive opportunities. The QE was the top performing market in the GCC in 2010, gaining 24.8 per cent. This reflects the interest of investors who are gradually building up long term positions in the market - trailing multiples look attractive and company profits grew by more than 17 per cent in the first nine months of 2010.
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.com for a table depicting GCC Valuations.
Source Thomson Reuters Datastream, Bloomberg, HSBC
The Investment Adviser is optimistic about the coming years, believing the downturn that began in late 2008 and continued into 2009 has run its course and that companies are now back on a growth trajectory. The Investment Adviser expects to see growth resume across the region, with the pace of expansion building momentum as the year goes on.
At the end of Q4 2010, the Company's NAV stood at US$1.04 (31 December 2010) compared to US$0.94 as of 30 September 2010.
The Company is invested in 18 companies in the GCC, with fourteen of them being in Qatar, three in the UAE, and one in Oman (30 September 2010: sixteen in Qatar, six in UAE, one in Kuwait). The total market value of investments was US$242 million at the end of Q4 2010.
Despite the unstable global economic situation, the results of Qatari companies for the first nine months of 2010 were markedly higher than the same period in 2009. The 43 companies listed on the Qatar Exchange reported a net profit QR23.0bn for the first nine months compared to a net profit of QR19.6bn during the same period in 2009, an increase of 18 per cent. It is worth mentioning that Vodafone Qatar, with a fiscal year end of March, has been excluded from this comparison.
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.comfor a table depicting the net profit by sector of the companies listed on the Qatar Exchange
Source: Qatar Insurance Company SAQ,
Thirty companies recorded growth in net profits for the nine months of 2010. Looking at the sector performance of the Qatari market, all four market sub-sectors reported year-on-year growth in the first nine months of 2010, with the insurance sector being the weakest. The Banking and Financial Institutions Sector, which includes 9 banks, registered growth of 20.6 per cent in net profit, which amounted to QR9.3bn compared to the QR7.7bn reported during the same period last year.
The five listed insurance companies reported aggregate net profit of QR701.5m in the first nine months of 2010, translating to growth of 6.4 per cent compared to net profit of QR659.5m in 2009. The industrial sector achieved net profit of QR5.1bn during the first nine months of this year compared to QR4.8bn during the same period in 2009, an increase of 6.6 per cent. Net profits for the services sector grew by 23.4 per cent, the highest growth rate of all, registering net profit of QR7.9bn compared to QR6.3bn last year.
The Investment Adviser does not expect to see any major negative surprises in the Q4 2010 corporate results and expects that most companies will not only track their last quarter results, but also announce an improved outlook for 2011.
The Company's industry allocation is largely unchanged compared to the previous quarter. The Company's largest sector exposure continues to be to the financial services industry. Exposure to the banking sector stood at 54.8 per cent at the end of the fourth quarter compared to 55.1 per cent at the third.
The Investment Adviser maintains a positive outlook on the Qatari banking sector. The benign economic environment (20 per cent real GDP growth forecast for 2010) in which Qatari banks operate supports our stance. The sector remains sound, with banks having provided comfortably against non-performing loans.
Over the next five years, the Investment Adviser expects government spending on large infrastructure projects to remain the main driver for loan growth. Although such spending currently benefits only the public sector, the Investment Adviser believes it should start to filter into the private sector by the latter part of this year.
The Qatari government has said that it will spend US$50bn (about 95 per cent of 2009 non-oil GDP) on infrastructure upgrades and US$4bn to build nine new stadiums and renovate three existing ones in preparation of hosting the World Cup. Qatari banks are the natural beneficiaries of World Cup related expenditure and will be heavily involved in financing the upcoming spending spree.
The investment case for Qatari Banks is further strengthened by earnings recovery originating primarily from both healthy volume growth and an improvement in asset quality. Qatari banks benefit from attractive valuations and, the Investment Adviser believes that the sector is due for a re-rating since World Cup spending plan addresses the key risk behind Qatari banks' growth beyond 2012.
The Investment Adviser believes the sector is set not only for an absolute re-rating but also an upgrade relative to both MENA and GEM banks. The Investment Advisers' optimism is based on the fact that Qatari banks still trade at a discount to their historical PE and PBV multiples, while some banking peers, such as the Egyptian banks, trade at a premium. On 2011 forecast earnings, Qatari banks currently trade at discounts of 22 per cent and 5 per cent to their GEM and MENA peers respectively. This is despite lower risk thanks to strong backing from a wealthy government.
The service sector, which is broadly defined and includes companies in telecommunications and utilities, accounted for 20 per cent of all investments. The Company's exposure to the real estate sector stood at 6 per cent at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to 4.9 per cent at the end of third quarter 2010. The industries and insurance sectors accounted for a further 14.2 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.comfor a pie chart depicting the industry allocation of the portfolio (% of mkt value) As at 31 December 2010.
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.comfor a table depicting the top five holdings of the portfolio
Source: Qatar Insurance Company SAQ, Market Values as at 31 December 2010
As at 31 December 2010, the top five investments of the Company constituted 61.9 per cent of NAV (59.3 per cent 30 September 2010).
As at 31 December 2010, the Company was invested in fourteen companies in Qatar, three companies in the UAE, and one company in Oman. Investments outside Qatar constituted 1.6 per cent of the Company's investments. During the quarter the company invested in the Omani Qatari Telecommunications Company SAOG (Nawras) IPO in Oman. Nawras provides mobile and fixed telecommunication services in Oman. The IPO raised OMR182m for the selling shareholders making it, by value, the largest IPO in Oman since 2005 and the largest in the GCC since July 2009. All selling shareholders, with the exception of Nawras Development LLC, retained a stake in Nawras, including TDC-Qtel MENA Investcom B.S.C., which is controlled by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), the pension funds of the Diwan of the Royal Court, the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Office, the Internal Security Service and the Sultan's Special Force.
other news flow
Qatar to implement Basel III proposals for the banking sector by 2013
The Minister of Economy and Finance has announced that the country will be able to implement Basel III proposals for the banking sector by 2013, five years ahead of the stipulated deadline. The Basel III proposals, which aim to improve the banking sector's ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, must be implemented by the global financial system no later than 2018.
Qatar invested US$21.7bn around the world in 2010
Qatar's sovereign wealth fund invested US$21.7bn in various assets around the world in 2010 according to the national daily newspaper Al Sharq. Of the total, $3.9bn was invested between mid-October and 2010 year end. The sectors the QIA chose to invest in included real estate and agriculture, shopping centres, commercial complexes, hotels, tourist resorts, banks and retail businesses, as well as mining rights in several countries.
The major investments made by the QIA in 2010 were the acquisition of Harrods in London for $2.3bn by its investment arm, Qatar Holding, some $412m in agriculture and animal husbandry in Australia through Hassad Food Company, and Qatari Diar's $395m investment in the Park House project of London. In addition, some $2bn was invested by the QIA to purchase shares in General Motors in the United States.
Qatar to extend stock market trading hours
The Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) announced the intention to extend the trading hours on the Qatar Exchange to bring it closer in line with most other Persian Gulf stock markets. According to the announcement, trading on the Doha bourse will take place between 06.30-10.00 GMT. The QFMA also said it would change the tick sizes, or the minimum price movement of a stock. The tick size would be one dirham for a stock valued at less than QR25 riyals ($6.87), five dirhams for a share between QR25-50 and 10 dirhams when a stock price is above QR50. There are 100 dirhams to QR1.
QR46.6bn surplus in Qatar's 09/10 budget
Qatar's 2009/2010 budget achieved a surplus of QR46.6bn compared to QR18.7bn in the 2008/2009 budget, according to the latest Qatar Central Bank (QCB) annual report. The report also showed that Qatar's gross domestic product (GDP) witnessed for the first time in many years a decline of 11.2 per cent in nominal value, but that real GDP registered positive growth of 8.6 per cent during 2009. Real GDP for 2009 (as per 2004 prices) was estimated at about QR254.2bn compared to QR234bn in 2008. The report attributed the fall in nominal GDP in 2009 to the 23.1 per cent first time decline in the gross product of the petroleum and gas sector.
Qatar Islamic Bank placed US$750 million in its debut Sukuk
Qatar Islamic Bank priced its highly successful debut international Sukuk on 30th September 2010, representing the first international Sukuk transaction from a Qatari financial institution. Investors' strong interest resulted in the order book reaching US$6bn, around 8 times the value of the offer.
Mawashi and Al Meera announce that there will be no merger
The proposed merger of Mawashi and Al Meera was called off citing minimal benefit. The feasibility study pointed towards the lack of synergies of the combined entity and the management of the two companies decided not to pursue the merger.
Qatar Holding buys stake in Brazil bank
Qatar Holding acquired a 5 per cent stake in Banco Santander through an agreement to purchase US$2.7bn of exchangeable bonds to be issued by the latter. The three-year bonds pay an annual coupon of 6.75 per cent and are exchangeable into Santander Brazil units at a reference price of 23.75 reals per unit.
Qtel - Wataniya Mobile Palestine announces IPO
Qatar Telecom has announced that group member Wataniya Palestine Mobile Telecommunications Public Shareholding Company intends to undertake an Initial Public Offering of 15 per cent of its authorized share capital followed by a listing on the Palestine Exchange.
QNB sells US$1.5bn bonds
Qatar National Bank completed its debut US Dollar bond international issue on 9 November 2010, amounting to US$1.5bn with a five year maturity and a coupon rate of 3.125 per cent.
Nakilat inaugurates shipyard
Nakilat inaugurated the first three phases of its new, world-class shipyard in the port of Ras Laffan.The Shipyard is located on a 110 hectare site, approximately 8km offshore along the southern breakwater of the expanded port of Ras Laffan.The shipyard has been designed for the repair and maintenance of very large LNG carriers and a wide range of other vessels, as well as for the conversion of tankers to floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) and floating storage and offloading (FSO) units. It is also capable of constructing a wide variety of ships of up to 120 metres.
Masraf Al Rayan extends QR2bn funding to Al Meera
Masraf Al Rayan has extended QR2bn of funding to Al Meera to finance its development and expansion plans.
Commercial Bank issues CHF275m bond
The issue, which raised CHF275m, is a five-year fixed rate bond with an annual coupon of 3 per cent. The bond, which is the first public bond issue by a Qatari bank in Switzerland, is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has been rated A1 by Moody's and A- by Standard & Poors.
Gulf International Services looking at acquisition
Gulf International Services Company has announced that it has appointed QNB Capital LLC to act as financial advisor and lead a consortium to perform due diligence and business evaluation on Amwaj Catering Services Company (a wholly owned subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum) as a potential acquisition.
Al Khaliji and IBQ are in final stages of merger
Al Khaliji and IBQ have announced that the proposed merger between the two companies is now entering the final stages of negotiations, including formal discussions with key regulators.
Qtel, Qatar Investment Authority may set up investment vehicle
Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has said that it is in talks with the country's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, about setting up a joint telecoms investment fund as the Gulf state eyes further acquisitions.
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.comfor a graph depicting the DSM20 Index since 2006
Embedded image removed - please refer to the Company's website www.epicure-qatarequity.comfor a table depicting the NAV performance of the Company (% net in USD).
Source: Galileo Fund Services Ltd
NAV Performance is unaudited
Performance figures are based on the NAV calculated on the last Thursday of each month and published via the regulatory news service of the London Stock Exchange.
The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor's shares when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost and current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Additional information regarding policies for calculation and reporting returns is available upon request.
Epicure Qatar Equity Opportunities plc
NAV at launch US$ 0.96
NAV as at 30 December 2010 US$ 1.04
Inception Date 31 July 2007
The NAV is estimated net of fees and expenses every week and announced through the regulatory news service of the London Stock Exchange.
As at 30 December 2010
Market Price -Shares US$0.91
Market Price -Warrants US$0.08
Domicile Isle of Man
Shares in Issue 233,419,307 (excluding 101,855 ordinary shares held in Treasury)
Warrants Issued 34,271,000
Maturity Continuation vote at 2012 Annual General Meeting
Year End 30 June
Management Fee 1.25% of NAV
The performance fee is 20% of the of the increase in Adjusted Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share above the Target Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share, subject to the achievement of two tests (i) the year end Adjusted Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share is greater than the High Watermark and (ii) the year end Adjusted Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share exceeds the Target Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share during the relevant Performance Period. The Target Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share for the first performance period is the US$1 placing price increased by the hurdle rate of 8% per annum. For further details, please refer to the Company's admission document.
Investment Manager Epicure Managers Qatar Limited
Investment Adviser Qatar Insurance Company S.A.Q
Administrator Galileo Fund Services Limited
Custodian Anglo Irish Bank Corporation, International PLC
Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
Joint Broker Oriel Securities Limited
Auditor & Tax Adviser KPMG I.O.M.
Legal Adviser Stephenson Harwood
Bloomberg ticker EQEO
Bloomberg ticker EQEW
Exchange Rate US$1.00=QR3.64
Epicure Qatar Equity Opportunities plc
T: +41 (22) 908 1190
Nominated Adviser & Joint Broker
Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
London, EC2M 6XB
T: +44(0) 207 459 3600
Oriel Securities Limited
125 Wood Street
London EC2V 7AN
Tel: +44 207 710 7600
Administrator & Registrar
Galileo Fund Services Limited
46 Athol Street
Isle of Man, IM1 1JB
T: +44(0)1624 692600
F: +44 (0)1624 692 601
Anglo Irish Bank Corporation (International) PLC
Isle of Man, IM1 2SH
PR/ Media Contact
The Maitland Consultancy Limited
5 Upper St Martin's Lane
T: +44 20 7379 5151
The contents of this document have been prepared by Qatar Insurance Company S.A.Q as Investment Adviser to the Epicure Qatar Equity Opportunities Fund PLC ("the Company"). This document has been prepared solely for information purposes and for the use of the recipient. It does not constitute an offer or an invitation by or on behalf of the Investment Adviser or the Company to any person to buy or sell any security or investment product. Any reference to past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. The information and analyses contained in this publication have been compiled, or arrived at from sources believed to be reliable, but the Investment Adviser does not make any representation as to their accuracy or completeness, and does not accept liability for any loss arising from their use. The investments discussed in this report may not be suitable for all investors. and are provided for information purposes only. The ordinary shares and warrants in the Company have not been, and will not be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933 as amended (the "Securities Act") or qualified for sale under the laws of any state of the United States or under the applicable laws of any of Canada, Australia, Republic of South Africa or Japan and, subject to certain exceptions, may not be offered or sold in the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of, US persons (as such term is defined in Regulation S under the Securities Act) or to any national, resident or citizen of Canada, Australia, Republic of South Africa or Japan. None of the Company, the Manager or any of their respective members, directors, officers or employees, nor any other person, accepts any liability whatsoever for any loss, however arising, from any use of such information or opinions.
Epicure Qatar Equity Opportunities plc
46 Athol Street
Isle of Man, IM1 1JB