Odyssey Corporate Finance is marking the end of its first year by launching a Qatari office to help the country’s sovereign wealth fund build a long-term economy for the oil nation.
The boutique firm, which was launched in the recession-hit climate of January last year, is formalising a deal with the country’s state investment arm the Qatari Investment Authority which will focus on encouraging UK automotive firms to look at expansion in Qatar.
The move marks the end of a successful first year in business for Odyssey, which completed five deals during the period.
Mike Yiannis, founder and managing director of Odyssey, said Qatar was an attractive place to expand his business.
“We have chosen Qatar because it’s one of the few places in the world which hasn’t been affected by the global financial crisis,” he said.
“It’s a rapidly developing nation backed by significant oil and gas reserves but they are making a big push to attract financial services companies.
“There are two opportunities that we are working on.
“The first is to assist Qatar in making investments in the UK and the second one is to assist Qatar to attract businesses to Qatar.
“They are keen to build a long-term economy beyond oil and gas and they have done a lot of overseas investment in recent times.”
He added: “What they want to do is to build a proper economy by attracting businesses to this part of the world.
“We are working with the sovereign fund to identify business which could locate out here.”
Mr Yiannis said the Qatari Investment Authority was particularly interested in the automotive sector - it recently took a stake in Porsche - and Odyssey would work on connecting automotive component manufacturers in the UK to opportunities in Qatar.
The country is keen to offer incentives to UK firms which have been held back by a lack of bank financing in the UK to encourage them to expand in Qatar.
“They are interested in attracting manufacturing of automotive components to this part of the world,” Mr Yiannis said.
“They will offer them very low rents on purpose-built facilities, they will give them free power, cost-effective loans and also a very low tax regime.
“We don’t want to take business away from the UK
“The intention is for West Midland automotive companies that have capacity constraints or funding constraints - if they are interesting in building a new facility then there is the opportunity to set up the facility over here.
“The Qataris could also invest in the UK businesses as part of the package.”
Odyssey’s most recent deal was in the automotive services industry - working on the management buyout of an unnamed local company.