Over 50 years ago, Sheikh Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani founded what was to become a thriving family business. The Nasser Bin Khaled Holding started by managing the selling and distribution of notable international brands in the Qatari market and expanded its range of activities to encompass significant investment, industrial and trade sectors, turning into a key player in the rapidly developing economy of Qatar. Run by the second family generation, the group ventures further into the 21st century with a vision that is as ambitious as the country of its origin.
Qatar’s economy was, like other Gulf countries, focused on pearl-fishing until in the 1940s its richness in oil was discovered and changed everything. Today, petroleum accounts for more than half of government revenues, gross domestic product, and export earnings. With a population of 1.4 million (UN, 2009), Qatar has one of the highest per capita GDP in the world due to its harbouring more than 5% of the world total in natural gas reserves. Major industries are focused around petroleum and include, crude oil production, fertilisers, petrochemicals, steel, cement, and commercial ship repair. Over the past decades Qatar has seen an incredible growth rate and businesses have diversified into many industries, attracting to Qatar multinational players and brands and creating a buzzing and thriving economy.
A history in the making
Sheikh Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani was born in 1910. Early on in his life, Sheikh Nasser showed great entrepreneurial ambition. He started his professional career as President of the first Municipality in Doha, after which he was elected as Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Trade.
In the early 1950’s, Sheikh Nasser established Nasser Bin Khaled Holding with a distinct vision: A commitment to establishing a world-class company, one in which entrepreneurial excellence was the norm, who’s innovative and ethical business practices would benefit not only its individual customers, but the State of Qatar. He set about turning this vision into a reality.
Sheikh Nasser’s tenure as the Minister of Commerce and Trade, lasted until 1986.
NBK Holding gained a strong position in Qatar and the broader Middle East quickly. Initially NBK managed the selling and distribution of international brands in the Qatari market and, later on, expanded its range of activities to encompass significant investment, industrial and trade sectors, turning into a key player in the rapidly developing economy of Qatar.
For over five decades, Nasser Bin Khaled has remained true to its pledge and proactively and strategically contributed to a thriving economy. It achieves this by constantly upgrading and expanding its lines of businesses, services and its societal commitment.
Taking forward Sheikh Nasser’s legacy are Sheikh Nawaf Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani, NBK Chairman and CEO, and Sheikha Hanadi Nasser Bint Khaled Al Thani, Deputy CEO, who joined hands to steer the family business into the future.
Over the years, Nasser Bin Khaled widened its umbrella of businesses to include several new companies with various operations, and partnered with multi-national organisations. With over 1,500 employees, NBK owns major companies in the fields of automotive, construction, oil & gas, telecommunications, civil engineering, agriculture, real estate, consultancy, fashion, and hospitality.
In the automotive industry, NBK aligned itself with many global companies offering prestigious brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Spyker Sport Cars, Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Fuso, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki and others. In addition it runs numerous centres catering to all kinds of customers’ demands for vehicles, tires, spare parts and accessories such as Bosch, Michelin, Ziebart and Smart Repair. The family business founded heavy equipments, power generation, material handling and transportation solutions divisions in order to provide its clients with an all-encompassing automotive services and products. NBK turned Qatar into one of the most prominent competitive automotive markets in the region and beyond.
In the fashion industry Nasser Bin Khaled has made its mark by introducing a new luxury fashion haven for the upscale fashion-savvy clientele of Qatar. ZAI is home to more than 100 of the world’s most coveted brands such as Lanvin, Elie Saab, Loewe, Nina Ricci, Paul Smith, Emanuel Ungaro, Mathew Williamson, Marchesa, Barbara Bui, Balmain, Zuhair Murad, Azzaro, Jitrois, Zilli and others. Catering to the young and trendy segments of the increasingly cosmopolitan patchwork of the country, NBK also presents “Quiksilver” and “Metropolis “. NBK also became active in gastronomy setting international benchmark and started a series of eateries, among which are Lina’s Café, Silver Café and Manakish Al Basha.
With a shift from a strictly petrochemical economy to a diversified economy, healthcare ranked high on Qatar’s national agenda. The country is bound to the pledge of establishing an integrated healthcare centre and system of excellence, a system that allows for better-off and well-enhanced health and nutrition services caring for local as well as regional GCC citizens who prioritise quality lifestyle. Nasser Bin Khaled introduced a medical equipment division providing leading brands in medical supplies that offer span hospital furniture, gymnasiums and health equipment, medical gases and tubes, first aid and emergency equipment, medical treatment facilities, and others.
Alongside healthcare, came a need for agricultural and environmental services; Nasser Bin Khaled soon became a leader in the fields of agriculture, civil engineering, materials testing devices, environmental testing devices, pest extermination and green house construction. Some of NBK’s more notable achievements include supplying governmental and private organisations with agricultural and water-testing devices, as well as fertilisers and seedlings. This division has been known to transform desert environments into plantations with rich harvests of fruits, vegetables and other flora, proving its capabilities and vital role in agriculture, the fight against pollution, and the general environmental well-being of Qatar in recent years.
Lately, Qatar has witnessed an increasing demand for multi-billion real estate and construction projects from mixed-uses high raises to shopping malls to urban infrastructure. Witnessing a major petrodollar inflow, a massive overdrive in the construction sector and with the world’s eyes set on breaking new ground with innovative development missions in Qatar, Nasser Bin Khaled secured its involvement in many landmark developments.
With a mission to enhance the urban and social milieu in Qatar, NBK has engaged in the buying, selling and maintaining of property, as well as coordinating property management for industrial, commercial and residential buildings plus a diversified range of corporate investment and retail operations, with services extended to reach project development, design and supervision, feasibility studies and annual budgeting.
Nasser Bin Khaled is also the promoter of “Al Wa’ab City”. Al Wa’ab City is one of the largest privately owned real estate projects currently under development in the State of Qatar. This USD 3.2 billion multi-use development is the first family oriented, self-sustained community within the city Doha. Al Wa’ab City is composed of over 2,000 residential units, 100,000 sqm and 200,000 sqm of retail and commercial space respectively. The community integrates a variety of housing styles and options, small- and large-scale retail, low-rise offices, health and wellness facilities. Occupying an area of approximately 1.25 million square metres and having one of the lowest population density ratios of any new major development in the country, Al Wa’ab City will be home to 8,000 people.
Nasser Bin Khaled attributes its successes to an extremely proficient team and strong family union which has, always, been at the heart of executing private and public developmental projects in the country and which has made its vision a reality. Today, the company has earned high levels of credibility and trust among its clients in Qatar and beyond.