Qatar’s finance minister and chairman of Qatar National Bank Yousef Hussain Kamal said its backing of Irvine Sellars’ Shard tower in the City of London was the start of continued Qatari investment in the UK.

He was speaking at the launch of the investor consortium – London Bridge Quarter – which is building the £2bn regeneration of London Bridge Tower including the Shard tower.

Hussain Kamal, who is also chairman of Qatar National Bank, said his country was enjoying increasingly closer economic and financial ties with Britain in general and the City of London in particular. He said the Shard was one of the largest Qatari investments in the UK.

‘Despite the current volatility in international capital markets, we believe that the attractiveness of this signature property, together with the financial strength and reputation of the Qatari investors that are promoting this project will generate considerable interest in the financing programme,’ he said.

Chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jabr Al Thani, said: ‘The Shard of Glass will be a landmark building in Europe. Our investment in this project underlines our confidence, not only in the real estate market but also in the wider United Kingdom economy.

'This is further cemented by the strong economic and political relationship between our two countries.

‘In my view, opportunities such as the Shard of Glass are going to be the cornerstone of our future investment strategy. We will continue to look for opportunities that are similarly as unique as the Shard but that also offer decent returns to our investors.’

Qatar National Bank and the Qatar Islamic Bank along with Barwa International, QInvest and Sellar Property Group each have a 20% interest in the London Bridge development. Sellar Property Group is the developer of the 2m sq ft mixed-use scheme.