He forecast net income would rise to $86 million on revenues of $286 million in 2005 as the company took over a growing proportion of the total production of power and water in Qatar. ‘QEWC aims to pay a 13 per cent dividend in 2002 compared with 12 per cent in 2001 and for this to rise by 1 per cent annually,’ Al-Rashid said.’We have demonstrated profitability since 1998 and our strong share price shows the market has confidence.’

Al-Rashid said that QEWC, set up in 1990 to take over state power and water capacity, would be responsible for 2,226 MW of electricity capacity by the end of 2002. At present it owns and runs the Ras Abu Fontas B project and its Ras Abu Fontas B1 power and water plant was due to start operating this summer.

QEWC plans to buy all other existing government power and water assets by the end of the year. These comprise the Al-Wajbah, Saliyah and Doha South super- plants. The method of financing the purchases would be determined once technical, legal and financial reports into the deals were complete. LahmeyerInternational of Germany had done the legal report, Allen & Overyworked on the legal report and HSBC Middle East Bankwas completing a financial evaluation of the projects.

QEWC is also a major shareholder in the Ras Laffan independent water and power project (IWPP), a new scheme due to start operating in 2003. The next IWPP will be Ras Laffan 2 which will have capacity of 750 MW and 40 million gallons a day. ‘Our goal is to increase our participation in new future projects from 25 per cent to 51 per cent,’ Al-Rashid said.

Shorter-term goals include getting ISO accreditation and securing a credit rating. ‘We want to maximise our revenue and reduce our costs,’ he said. ‘We want to ensure the highest availability of our plant and ensure an internal rate of return of above 13 per cent.’

Al-Rashid said Qatar’s electricity demand would rise by an estimated 11.5 per cent in the present year from 7.5 per cent last year and was set to continue to rise strongly for the indefinite future.