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Wed 18 Jun 2008 01:30 PM

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Qatar eyes Barclays stake

Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund considering backing $7.8bn share issue by British bank, source says.

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is considering backing a share issue by British bank Barclays, which could raise more than 4 billion pounds ($7.81 billion) from investors, the UK's Financial Times (FT) reported on Wednesday.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which has said it bought under 2 percent of Credit Suisse this year, could help Barclays rebuild its capital reserves without a rights issue, the FT said.

"We're looking at it," a person close to the QIA was quoted by the FT as saying.

QIA adviser John El-Khair declined to comment on the report when contacted by newswire Reuters. The QIA manages assets worth about $60 billion, according to a study by Standard Chartered.

Qatar is looking to spending between $10 billion and $15 billion over the next two years on bank stakes, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani told Reuters in February.

Singapore-based Temasek Holdings may also be considering an investment in Barclays, the FT said. (Reuters)

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