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Fri 7 Oct 2016 12:12 AM

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Qatari investment firm buys 78% stake in Malta's Banif Bank

Al Faisal International Trade and Investment says it sees 'great potential for expansion' for Maltese bank

Qatari investment firm buys 78% stake in Malta's Banif Bank

A Qatari investment group has reportedly acquired a 78.46 percent stake in Banif Bank Malta for an undisclosed amount.

The Al Faisal International Trade and Investment said it hoped it would be the first of many financial services investments in Europe, according to media in Malta.

Its chairman is Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, who has a net worth of at least $2.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He was quoted as saying that Malta was chosen because it is developing at a fast pace and is well positioned in surrounding markets.

“There is great potential for expansion. We have found strong support by the government and the people here. Malta is a good place to invest,” he told local media.

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat added: “This agreement has great strategic importance for us because Banif is the third largest player in our commercial banking sector. Banif needed new input and I am sure that, through this investment deal, the bank will take on a much more proactive role.

“This is also a signal that we are open to business from all parts of the world,” he said, referring to the recently announced investment from Jordan, Azerbaijan, China and the US.

Banif Malta, a subsidiary of Banif Bank Portugal, has been operating since 2008 and has 12 branches and around 30,000 customers. The bank employs around 150 people in Malta.

The investment deal will reportedly provide Banif Malta with additional capital and resources, allowing it to offer new services.

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