DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar’s former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, a key shareholder in Deutsche Bank, said on Tuesday European banks should seek mergers if they want to compete against U.S. or Chinese banks.
“If you compare the European banks with the American banks or the Chinese banks, we’ll find that they are too small to survive by themselves,” he told an economic forum organized by Bloomberg.
When asked whether Deutsche Bank should also seek a merger with another lender, Thani said: “I am not in the board, so they have to decide. But I believe mergers (are) inevitable.”
Thani owns a 3.05% stake in Deutsche Bank, according to Refinitiv data.
Thani, who also owns properties in London, said real estate is in difficulties because of the pandemic, especially the hospitality, office and retail segments, where a recovery would not be easy because people’s habits had changed.
“Offices, we need to know if they are going to have a full space as it is or they need more space per person,” he said.
He said the retail segment faces more challenges as the younger generation is increasingly ordering online, but hospitality could recover as people are keen to travel when the pandemic eases.
He also expressed hope that the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could create a single vision to face the many challenges in the region and work together on a better relationship with Iran.
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Edmund Blair and Philippa Fletcher)