Sheik Mohamed bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar has acquired a more than a five-percent share in Iceland’s Kaupthing Bank worth ISK 25.5 billion (USD 277 million, EUR 188 million), as announced yesterday. CEO of Kaupthing Hreidar Már Sigurdsson said this development strengthens the bank’s position in financial markets.
“We are very pleased with having his highness become a shareholder in the bank,” Sigurdsson told Fréttabladid.
Sigurdsson points out that Sigurdur Einarsson, chairman of Kaupthing’s board, and President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson had visited Qatar at the beginning of this year to present Icelandic energy and financial companies to local officials.
Following their visit, representatives from Qatar came to Iceland in the summer to meet with the president. “These visits certainly helped,” Sigurdsson said.
Sigurdsson said that Ólafur Ólafsson, chairman of the board of Alfesca, had also helped because he has been in contact with people from Qatar for many years.
Ólafsson is the largest shareholder in Alfesca and one of the largest shareholders in Kaupthing Bank. Kaupthing is the second-largest shareholder in Alfesca and Al-Thani bought a 12.6 percent stake in Alfesca in June.
With his acquisition in Kaupthing Bank, Al-Thani has become the largest foreign investor in Iceland. The combined market value of his shares in Alfesca and Kaupthing amounts to more than ISK 32 billion (USD 347 million, EUR 236 million).