Qatari Diar wins two top awards for $2.5 bln. UK Islamic financing deal

QATARI DIAR Real Estate Investment Company has been awarded two prestigious awards for their Shari'a compliant syndicated loan deal on QATARI DIAR'S flagship Chelsea Barracks development in London. The two awards, presented by Islamic Finance News, are for the Syndicated Deal of the Year and United Kingdom Deal of the Year. Both awards relate to the US $2.5 billion (approx. €1.85 bln.) syndicated financing to fund Project Blue (Guernsey) Ltd's purchase of London's Chelsea Barracks.

Receiving the awards at the Islamic Finance News Awards ceremony held in Dubai, Dr Mohammed A. Al –Hamadi, QATARI DIAR'S Deputy Chief Executive for Corporate Development said "These awards are a real honor for QATARI DIAR and reflect the professionalism of QATARI DIAR staff and our partners to strike complex financial deals. The financial structure developed here has allowed us to deliver a truly innovative financing solution for the global real estate sector. We have broken new ground with our advisors, by creating and setting up Islamic financing of a scale not seen before in a major real estate acquisition in the UK."

London's Chelsea Barracks, a 5.2 hectare (12.8 acre) site in the City of Westminster is generally regarded as one of the most important residential development sites in Europe. In this ground breaking deal, the site's owner Project Blue (Guernsey) Ltd ("PBGL"), a joint venture between QATARI DIAR and CPC Group, negotiated what is believed to be the largest Islamic financing on a UK property. PBGL, which is currently majority owned by QATARI DIAR financed the Chelsea Barracks acquisition through an aggregate $2,467,875,000 sale and lease financing structure. The financing is fully underwritten by PBGL's strategic partner Masraf Al Rayan, BNP Paribas, CALYON Crédit Agricole, HSBC Amanah, and Qatar National Bank.

Though similar in most aspects to conventional banking practices, Islamic financing laws prohibit the collection and payment of interest and investing in businesses that are considered to be unlawful in the Islamic faith.

Chief Executive Officer of QATARI DIAR Real Estate Investment Company, Mr Ghanim bin Saad al-Saad said: "We are all delighted to win these awards in recognition of the financing deals for the purchase of Chelsea Barracks. This syndicated financing represents a major step in the advancement of what is certain to be an important development for all of London. QATARI DIAR has a reputation for creating some of the most desirable commercial and residential development projects in the world, and this project represents our first major investment in Europe. Chelsea Barracks will adhere to our commitment to creating sustainable developments that build communities and enhance the well-being of all."

In structuring the transaction PBGL was advised by Clifford Chance in the acquisition and financing of Chelsea Barracks and Norton Rose advised the 5 Mandated Lead Arrangers (MLA's). Clifford Chance is advising Project Blue (Guernsey) Limited on all the legal aspects of the ongoing development. A revised Planning Application for the site, which has been welcomed by local stakeholders, was submitted last week to Westminster City Council for consent; a decision is expected by the early summer.

Source: BLJ Financial

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