Qataris bullish about investment in lucrative bloodstock industry
Qataris are set to overtake Dubai's all powerful Maktoum family as the principal investors in the Irish thoroughbred industry over the coming years.
Talks between the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, and the influential Qatari Minister for Finance, Prince Johann have convinced Irish officials that the oil-rich Gulf State is set to invest heavily in our crucial bloodstock sector.
"I'd be very bullish about future investment by Qataris in Ireland. They are taking the international thoroughbred market by storm at the moment," Minister Coveney said after his five-day trade mission to the Middle East last week.
"They are making dramatic investments in the sector and senior members of their Government see Ireland as a premier destination to breed horses," he said.
"That means that the world comes to Ireland to not only breed horses, but also keep them there for training."
The Maktoums, under their Godolphin moniker, have invested millions of euro over the last 30 years in Ireland in 15 separate studs that now employ an estimated 400 people.
However, Qatari businessmen Mubarak Al Naemi and Sheikh Fahaf Al Thani of the Qatari royal house herald the arrival of a new source of investment following their stud farm purchases in the last two months.
Mr Naemi, who is a chemical engineer and chairman of the Qatar Owners and Breeders Association, purchased the 300ac Kilfrush Stud in Limerick, while Sheikh Fahaf Al Thani is planning to develop a high class operation on the 100ac greenfield site he recently purchased, which is also in Limerick. Industry sources said that at least another €1m would be invested to convert the farm into a high class stud.