Qatar buys two percent stake in French energy giant Total
PARIS - The emirate of Qatar has bought a two percent stake in French energy giant Total, becoming one of its leading shareholders, the business newspaper Les Echos reported on Wednesday.
The stake -- which does not require an obligatory declaration as it is less than five percent -- is worth more than two billion euros ($2.6 billion), the newspaper reported, without naming the sources of its information.
Total refused to comment on the report.
The acquisition would make Qatar among the top shareholders in Total, behind its employees and Belgian billionaire Albert Frere and with an equal stake to that of China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
Asked about the acquisition on I-Tele television, French Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse said there was no reason for concern.
French companies "need fresh capital. This is two percent of Total's capital, this is not enough to have decision-making power at a very big French company," she said.
Qatar investors have made several major investments in France, buying the Paris Saint-Germain football club, a 5.6 percent stake in building firm Vinci, five percent of utility group Veolia and 10.1 percent in media group Lagardere.