Qatar in talks to buy stake in BNP Paribas

French lender is on tour of the Middle East in bid to drum up fresh capital
Qatar in talks to buy stake in BNP Paribas
Frances biggest listed lender is seeking to raise capital
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Thu 22 Sep 2011 03:27 PM

Qatar is
in talks with BNP Paribas to take a possible stake in the bank as France’s
biggest listed lender attempts to raise fresh capital, it was reported
Thursday.

The oil
rich Gulf state is reportedly in talks with a number of France lenders
following concerns about their levels of exposure to the euro zone debt crisis,
newswire Reuters said.

“They
[Qatar] have been talking to banks across France, given the tremendous need for
capital,” a unnamed source told the newswire.

Qatar,
which sits on the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves, has made a string
of investments in the euro zone this year as its looks to link its foreign
asset diversification with support for foreign policy initiatives.

The Gulf
state in August injected €500m into the creation of Eurobank EFG in Greece and
also acquired a stake in the power company Energias de Portugal.

Concerns
about the euro zone banking system have been growing in recent weeks as lending
between banks has started drying up, a key sign of the credit crisis in 2008.

Senior
executives from BNP Paribas are currently touring the Middle East in a bid to
raise fresh capital. The lender’s exposure to the euro zone sovereign debt is
the highest amongst French banks. Last week it launched a €70bn asset sale to
boost its capital and reduce funding needs while its share price has fallen by
half this year.

Qatar
and Abu Dhabi bought acquired stakes in Barclays in 2008 as part of a capital
increase which helped the British lender to avoid government support.

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