El Corte Ingles’ Qatari investor to see stake increase to 12.25%

Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani is set to increase his holding in Spanish department store group El Corte Inglés to 12.25% this week.

A Corte Inglés branch in Spain - El Corte Inglés

According to local newspaper Expansión, the former prime minister of Qatar, also known as HBJ, will become the company’s third largest shareholder, following Fundación Ramón Areces, which owns 37% of the group, and Cartera de Valores IASA, which has a 22% stake.

In 2015, HBJ agreed to give El Corte Inglés a 1 billion euro loan in return for the option to acquire a 10% stake in the business by 12 July 2018.  

The remaining 2.25% is being paid with the loan’s interest, which amounts to 225 million euros. The 12.25% stake could grow further if El Corte Inglés fails to meet its EBITDA target this year, a likely event given its performance in previous years, reported Expansión.

Additionally, if the company goes public and its market value is less than 10 billion euros, the Qatari investor will be entitled to an additional 1%.

The past month has been turbulent for the Spanish company, with Dimas Gimeno given the boot as chairman and Nuño de la Rosa appointed to succeed him. HBJ remained on the sidelines during the recent leadership conflict but he could get more involved in the future to ensure the company’s success and his own interests.

Translated by Barbara Santamaria

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