Author Archives: Ziad K Abdelnour

Qatar: A Powerhouse in the Making

Things are looking up in Qatar; not only the skyscrapers rising from its desert sands. Index provider MSCI recently announced it would reclassify Qatar from frontier market to emerging market status.

The most significant potential benefit of this reclassification could be the dose of added confidence it will give investors.

I think Qatar’s future looks very bright for a number of reasons.

For ease of doing business, Qatar is one of the best in the region.

1.  The World Bank’s 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness index ranks it 16th among 189 countries in this regard. Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), along with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, a grouping which I believe could surprise on the upside in terms of growth rates in the years ahead.

2. The IMF said growth in the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states is projected to remain strong at an average 4.5% in 2014 and 2015.

3.  Qatar and the UAE are among the three most attractive markets in the world for investment in infrastructure, according to a new report by EC Harris, the global built asset consultancy firm.
Qatar was ranked second and the UAE third globally for their strong business environment, healthy pipeline of development work and growing economic, making them attractive countries for investors including pension funds and banks. The findings, which come from the second Global Infrastructure Investment Index which ranks 41 countries by their attractiveness to investors in infrastructure, also revealed that Saudi Arabia was placed 12th.

4. Tax rates are generally low in the GCC, and Qatar is a standout in this regard. In Qatar, income tax is zero and profits are taxed at zero which makes things very attractive not only for individuals but for companies. Each of these countries pegs its currency to the US dollar except Kuwait, which pegs to a basket or group of currencies, so the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s slowing or ending of its longstanding asset-purchasing program on these currencies should be more muted than in some other emerging markets.

5.  The country’s control of an estimated 14 per cent of the world’s known reserves of natural gas has bought it a seat at the very highest levels in global diplomacy.

6. Qatar has also set its sights on becoming a global center for Islamic finance, which features Shariah-compliant investment vehicles. I think this development is only in its infancy, as there is much interest in these products globally.

7.  Last, despite the state’s uncomfortable embrace of extremist movements in the Middle East, its love of Western trophy assets remains undiminished. Late summer, it swooped upon the Paris-based Le Grand hotel, paying Britain’s InterContinental Hotel group £264million. Constellation Holdings, part of Qatar Holdings, bought the InterContinental in Park Lane for £400million last year.

The best known symbol of its power and influence in London is the Harrods department store, bought from the Egyptian Al-Fayed family in May 2010 for £1.5billion.

That is just the tip of an iceberg of Qatari funds flowing into London. The London Stock Exchange is 15 per cent owned by the Qatari Investment Authority. Qatar Holdings is a 26 per cent shareholder in the £6billion Sainsbury’s grocery group and is seen as a potential future owner.

Qatari investors also have been hugely active in British property. At the height of the financial crisis Qatar stepped in to bail out the Shard in the City of London. It partnered with Delancey estates in redeveloping the Olympic Park at Stratford and financed the Candy Brothers in developing One Hyde Park at Knightsbridge.

Qatari investors also own the Chelsea Barracks site in West London and a huge property development off Oxford Street in conjunction with Land Securities.

Although their property speculations have aroused some hackles and their attempts to win control of three prestigious London hotels, Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley has brought them head to head with the Barclay Brothers, owners of the Daily Telegraph group…. they haven’t slowed down a bit.

However controversial this tiny but powerful country and astute investors can be, I think it should see even more visitors, and investors, as it rises in importance on the global stage in the years to come.

Share your thoughts…

Becoming The Master “Mover And Shaker” You Want To Be

Build your network before you need it. I crack up at the people who come to me for advice on how to build a “master network” because they need a job now, I tell them it’s useless. People can tell the difference between desperation and an earnest attempt to create a relationship. Bottom Line: Anticipate the worst, keep building the right relationship from the start and then strike when needed. Any other exercise is just an exercise in futility.

Be a real interesting “Renaissance “ man . I am fully aware of the fact that perception drives reality and that we are all, in some sense, “brands”. But the cornerstone of my philosophy is really content. Being known is one thing, but being known for content is something else entirely — and much better. You have to have something to say to be interesting to people. If not, there is nothing that really differentiates you from the crowd. Once your pitch is perfected, getting attention is never a problem. Journalists are powerful (the right exposure can make a company), needy (they’re always looking for a story), and relatively unknown (few have achieved enough celebrity to make them inaccessible)…Fame sells.

Continue Reading: Becoming The Master “Mover And Shaker” You Want To Be

Ziad K Abdelnour, President And CEO Of Blackhawk Partners Describes Business as War

Ziad K Abdelnour, President and CEO of Blackhawk partners, a New York private equity firm which has been involved in transactions totalling over $10billion.

Ziad K Abdelnour describes business as war and discusses the importance of gathering intelligence to set you apart from the competition. He also stresses the importance of dealing with life’s harsh realities in order to become a killer shark entrepreneur.

America Tear Down The Wall Before It’s Too Late

I am afraid America makes less sense every day.

Little children are randomly slaughtered in their schoolrooms. Predator drones roam the skies over foreign countries exterminating bad guys, along with innocent women and children (collateral damage when it occurs in a foreign country). Drugged up mentally ill kids with no hope and no future live lives of secluded quiet desperation until they snap. Ignorant, government educated, welfare dependent drones with no self respect or respect for others, assault, kill and rob within their government created urban ghettoes. Sociopaths who committed the largest financial crime in world history walk free and continue to occupy executive suites in luxury office towers in downtown NYC, collecting millions in bonuses as compensation for crushing the American middle class. Academics, whose theories have been thoroughly disproven, continue to steer our economy into an iceberg while accelerating the money printing and debt issuance that will sink our ship of state. Corrupt, bought off politicians pander to the lowest common denominator as their votes are only dependent upon who contributed the most to their election campaigns, which never end.

Delusional, materialistic, narcissistic, math challenged consumers (formerly known as citizens – live for today, enslave themselves in debt, vote themselves more entitlements, and care not for future generations.

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Is Greed Good For The Goal of Living A Happy Life?

Remember the infamous quote of villain financier Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street…back in 1987?

“I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed–for lack of a better word–is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms–greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge–has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed–you mark my words–will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA”.

So what do you make of it? Is greed good?

I guess as with any question like this, we need to start with the word “good.”

It is a fault of our language that “good” is most often used in an unqualified way. This is a symptom of our natural preference for dualistic thought. So what does unqualified ‘good’ mean?

Owning a Home never was Intended to be a Right

For investors, business people, and entrepreneurs that need to navigate the troubled geopolitical waters of the post-crisis world, Abdelnour offers several solutions, including looking at the world and understanding that the federal government’s primary objective is to promote the creation of an environment conducive to the creation of wealth not job creation, not bailouts, not subsidies, not expansion of the federal bureaucracy, and not providing lifetime support to those who choose not to take advantage of the innumerable opportunities that exist in this nation for them to create a better, more productive life for themselves.

By Ziad K Abdelnour

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – Ziad K Abdelnour

Basic honesty is a must. A person must be able and willing to tell the truth. Moreover, they must tell it quickly, uncompromisingly and fully.  A simple question must elicit a simple answer. Any defensiveness, any protestations of the question you ask, should raise a red flag and get you ready to pull the chute on the proverbial parachute. A simple question should never result in a crooked answer, and such an answer is an indication that you may even be dealing with a crook. In any event, your life should not be about tolerating excuses.

The prospect of supporting someone, through investments, loans or your patronage, who does not reciprocate the respect you show them or which is customarily in a civilized society should be appalling, even infuriating, to you. In fact, your own business and reputation virtually requires you to dissociate from anyone acting in this manner.  Worse, in a world where people are increasingly suspicious and afraid of being unable to detect a good salesman from a fraud, the temptation is to “pull the trigger” quickly on anyone with a dent and misjudge or prejudge people based on nothing but their company.