From Messi’s PSG to Credit Suisse: who is the Qatari prince with whom Massa will negotiate investments for Argentina

Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad Al Thani, who runs the Qatari Sovereign Fund with whom Massa will meet (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The tour that the new Economy Minister Sergio Massa will carry out near the end of August will have a key point in the United States to expedite credits from multilateral organizations, but also in Qatar with an investment fund that manages USD 300,000 million.

It will be a week of travel for the presentation of Massa as minister in his political-technical role, without intermediaries and to urgently obtain the dollars that the Central Bank lacks, through all possible channels that can be explored.

Sources linked to the minister who will be sworn in this Wednesday told Infobae who in Qatar will meet with “institutional investors and officials of the Qatari Sovereign Fund, one of the world’s largest investors for the financing of projects in the energy and food security sectors.”

These projects are under the purview of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the Qatari sovereign fund created in 2005, with investments ranging from the PSG in which Lionel Messi plays to the Credit Suisse bank and the Volkswagen carmaker.

The fund is also a shareholder in Spain of the El Corte Inglés store, Iberdrola and the airline IAG; in turn, it is the main shareholder of IAG, the holding company that groups together British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level, with 25.1%. In Great Britain he owns the traditional Harrods stores, the Sainsbury’s chain, and is also a shareholder of the London Stock Exchange, with 7%.

In addition, in 2020 it became the main shareholder of the German automaker Volkswagen, acquiring 17% of the capital, after having also entered the capital of Porsche. In the financial arena, he invested in Credit Suisse and Barclays. In the entertainment industry they bought Miramax Films from the United States.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.  EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

As of 2020, the fund announced that it would no longer invest in traditional fuels and that it would bet on renewable energy projects, a very fertile field in Argentina with solar, green hydrogen, wind and lithium sources, among others.

who handles it Tamim bin Hamad Al Thanilinked to sport, to the point of having been president of the National Olympic Committee of his country and creator of the society Qatar Sports Investmentswho bought PSG and was a sponsor of Barcelona for six years, among other projects.

Background

As reported InfobaeMassa has already discussed this issue with the Saudi Arabian foreign minister, who offered the government a loan for USD 6,500 million over three yearsthat could serve as a source to strengthen international reserves, defend the dollar and pay part of the heavy maturities of sovereign debt.

These issues were analyzed by a committee made up of the confirmed Secretary of Finance, eduardo setti; Lisandro Cleri -who will be vice-president of the Central Bank- Y Federico D’Angelo of the Solidarity Guarantee Fund (FGS) of Anses; Y Paul Carreras-Mayerclose to Massa, who entered the Central board of directors.

Now, former Finance Secretary Daniel Marx will join this advisory body.experienced Argentine debt negotiator since the 1990s. The contribution of the new head of advisers to the Palacio de Hacienda will also be important, leonardo maturewho was a key player in the relationship with investors during the ministerial administration of roberto lavagna between 2002 and 2005 and that has well-established contacts in the country and abroad.

As president of the Chamber of Deputies, Massa had raised this idea with the team of Martin Guzmanthat he rejected it and spoke to Batakis again, who would accompany him on his tour abroad. The intention is to specify some Repo-type line and sovereign loans with collateral guaranteealthough the low price of Argentine bonds suggests that the Government should think of another source of support.

Pass or repo operations consist of a line of bank financing, by which one party buys cash from the other titles and, simultaneously, arranges the reverse operation with a determined term and interest. The spread between the cash purchase price of the security and the forward (future) sale price results in the interest rate of the operation. In the Government they swear that there could be credits at 6.5% in dollars.

Journey to the heart of power

As part of the same trip, Massa will travel to Washington, New York and Paris. In the North American capital he will meet with the main executives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in addition to the Treasury that leads Janet Yellen.

The stop will not be easy after the recent visit of Batakis, who presented himself to US officials and private investors as the interlocutor of the entire ruling coalition -including Vice President Cristina Kirchner-, but was displaced when she was still on her way to return to the country.

Given their political origin, in the Massa environment they clarified that the Argentine delegates in these multilateral organizations will have less relative weight than with Guzmán and Batakis, since the new minister “will speak directly with whoever he needs to speak to resolve the problems.”

Janet Yellen, Kristalina Georgieva, David Malpass and Mauricio Claver-Carone, Massa's destinations on his tour abroad
Janet Yellen, Kristalina Georgieva, David Malpass and Mauricio Claver-Carone, Massa’s destinations on his tour abroad

Fraud Kristalina Georgieva It will have to review the political and economic feasibility of going from a rise in real spending of 12% in the first half of the year to a fall of 8% in the second. The continuity of the program with the IMF, which does not want to change the annual goals of the agreement with the country, is the external anchor that the Government has both to avoid falling into default with the organization and to obtain more credits from the World Bank and the IDB.

Fraud Mauricio Claver-Carone, Massa started on the right foot, after the terrible relationship with the Government since 2020 due to the desire to Gustavo Beliz to be president of the bank; as he reported InfobaeThe US official has already anticipated the protocol by expressing his satisfaction with Massa’s appointment and his commitment to increase credits to the country. In particular, the Government intends to unlock a credit of USD 500 million that could strengthen the reserves of the Central Bank.

Meanwhile, after Claver-Carone’s unusually harsh words in the Wall Street Journal, the IDB highlighted that “since October 1, 2020, with the arrival of Mauricio Claver-Carone as president of the IDB, to date, the IDB has disbursed a total of more than US$2,557 million in investment operations (for sectors) in Argentina. Both 2020 and 2021 were record years for IDB disbursements with the country.”

“The board plans to consider the approval of three more operations in the next week that will add US$225 million more to the active portfolio of operations. To date, the portfolio of operations approved for the country includes 73 active (sectoral) investment projects for US$11,766 million, 55% already disbursed, and 34 non-reimbursable technical cooperations (donations) for US$16.6 million, with a 45% disbursed. – IDB support to Argentina in 2022 continues through investment or sector loans. This year, the IDB plans a program of investment operations for US$2,370 million with the country to be submitted for consideration by its Executive Board”.

With the World Bank presiding david malpasswhich has a portfolio of USD 8.4 billion with the country, the conversation will be easier, since the entity lent the country USD 2,000 million in 2021 and plans to disburse a similar sum this year, of which USD 900 million have already been approved, with more credits than payments to Washington. It will be necessary to see if in the talk with Massa the possibility of new credits arises, especially those called “free availability” for BCRA reserves.

David Lipton, "chancellor" of the Treasury and possible contact of Massa on his tour in the US REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo
David Lipton, “chancellor” of the Treasury and possible contact of Massa on his tour in the US REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

In the Treasury you will surely meet David Lipton, Yellen’s special adviser on international affairs and former IMF number 2, with extensive knowledge of Argentina since the 1980s. Close to Batakis, they affirm that his meeting with Lipton was positive, although no details were disclosed and the Treasury was already explicit in asking him the Government a comprehensive economic plan after a communication between Undersecretary Wally Adeyemo and Guzmán in 2021. The question in this case is to know how far the influence of a fluid contact of Massa, the director for the Western Hemisphere of the National Security CouncilJohn Gonzalez, to decompress the Treasury’s skepticism regarding Argentina.

In New York, Massa will meet with Wall Street investors and bondholders, who share the discouragement of US officials, as reflected in the lack of interest in buying Argentine bonds, despite the very high yields they offer. That feeling multiplied after Batakis swore to them in person last week that he had the support of Cristina Kirchner to apply the fiscal adjustment that they are waiting for so that the Argentine economy stabilizes, beyond the silver bridge that he can get from some daring investment funds or banks that can “approach” a short loan of USD 5 billion to stabilize the exchange situation and not spread nerves in the local banking system.

One of the banks that participated in the 2020 exchange of Argentina, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, stung sharply when expressing, as reported Infobaean explicit support for the arrival of Massa and his potential ability to implement the reforms that neither Guzmán nor Batakis could implement. A priori, Wall Street investors expect a higher rise in bonds to exit than to enter, although if they are enthusiastic about the announced measures –and especially the ability to execute them- there may be a lifeline from New York.

Finally, on the agenda being put together by Massa’s international adviser Gustavo Pandiani and the director of Customs william michel –with the help of the large agenda of Marx and Madcur-, there will be a stopover in Paris. With his resignation, Guzmán left half way through the renegotiation of the agreement with this group of creditor countries that he signed in 2014 Axel Kicillof as Minister of Economy at a very high rate for the country during the government of Cristina Kirchner.

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