European banks should start merging, says Deutsche Bank’s top Qatari investor

European banks need the scale to compete with US, Chinese rivals

People walk past a Deutsche Bank office in London, Britain July 8, 2019.

People walk past a Deutsche Bank office in London, Britain July 8, 2019.

REUTERS/Simon Dawson

DOHA: Deutsche Bank AG’s biggest Qatari shareholder urged consolidation in Europe’s financial services industry, so the continent’s lenders can achieve the scale to compete globally, Bloomberg reported.

European lenders should start merging now to confront the growing strength of US and Chinese lenders, the former Qatari prime minister and influential investor Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said in an interview.

“They have to decide,” he said about Deutsche Bank, “but I’m saying what I think and I believe that mergers are inevitable.”

“Everybody’s waiting to have a better valuation to think about merging, but I believe to merge now is better because the market is being taken by the big banks,” Sheikh Hamad said in an interview at the Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg.

“If we compare the European banks with the American banks or with the Chinese banks, we would find that they are too small to survive by themselves,” he said.

Sheikh Hamad is one of the German lender’s largest shareholders through an entity called Paramount Services Holdings.

In 2015, he transferred about half his shareholding to Supreme Universal Holdings, controlled by former emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and each entity owns a stake of just over 3 percent in Deutsche Bank.

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