Qatar pledges $4bn to Spanish banks

Ayinde O. Chase – AHN News Editor

Doha, Qatar (AHN) – Qatar is planning to invest $4.14 billion in Spanish savings banks as the industry gears up to raise funds to meet new capital rules.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was in Qatar on Monday and left with the emirate government’s pledges. The money will come from Doha’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim al-Thani said his country is also planning on investing in Spanish telecommunication and energy companies.

“We have confidence in the Spanish economy,” al-Thani said during a joint press conference.

In 2010 the QIA spent $2.69 billion to acquire a 5 percent stake in the Brazilian subsidiary of Spain’s biggest bank, Grupo Santander.

Spain tightened capital requirements for banks on Feb. 18 as part of its efforts to restore investor confidence. The European country also imposed a September deadline for lenders to meet the new rules or risk partial nationalization.

The Spanish prime minister also revealed that the Qatari ruler, Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, will visit Spain in April to bolster relations between the two countries.

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