A government-backed Qatari firm laid out plans Monday to invest $250 million in a Barclays PLC natural resource investment business, deepening the Gulf nation's bet on raw materials.
The Qatar Asset Management Co. said it will invest the funds into current and future holdings of a private equity business run by the British bank. A "substantial proportion" of its investment is destined for the $2.1 billion worth of assets already held by the business, known as Barclays Natural Resource Investments.
BNRI buys into companies involved in oil and gas, mining and other resource industries on behalf of co-investors around the world.
QAMC is run by the Qatar Financial Center Authority, which oversees the Gulf state's financial sector, and the country's Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund.
Already the world's largest supplier of liquefied natural gas, Qatar has recently been pumping money into mining company Xstrata PLC. A regulatory filing Monday shows state-run Qatar Holding now owns more than 7 percent of the Anglo-Swiss company, which is being taken over by commodities trader Glencore International PLC.
Qatar Holding is the main investment arm of the QIA sovereign wealth fund. It has been building stakes in European energy companies such as French oil giant Total SA, and last year invested in gold miner European Goldfields.
Qatar Holding is also one of the biggest direct investors in Barclays, with a 6.7 percent stake. Its investment in 2008 helped shore up the bank's balance sheet and keep Barclays from taking on the British government as a major shareholder, as rivals Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group did.
Qatar's investment in BNRI is a further vote of confidence in the London-based bank. Barclays has been under attack by a vocal group of shareholders who are critical of executives' generous pay packages.
As part of Monday's deal, BNRI plans to open an office in the Qatar Financial Center, a banking hub in a new part of the Qatari capital Doha that has struggled to attract big financial companies to set up shop. Barclays already has operations there.