Citigroup’s shakiest days are over, Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud, the biggest individual shareholder of the bank’s stock, told CNBC Friday.
“Citibank’s worst problems are behind it, and now they are positioned toward the future,” said the prince, who is the nephew of the Saudi leader, King Abdullah. He is also chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, which holds Citi stock.
“If they [Citi] can give us some dividends in 2011, I welcome that.”
The prince said that he is in frequent contact with Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and upper management, and he expressed confidence in the bank's leadership.
Some analysts recently have advised investors not to invest in Citi, saying the bank will have problems raising capital and questioning its dividend plans.
“I can assure you that Citibank does not need one iota of increase in equity: It has adequate equity, and Vikram went public by saying that 2012 will witness some new programs whereby a share buyback program will be established and dividends will be reinstated,” Alwaleed said.
The prince also said oil at $100 a barrelis an inflated price caused by panic. He reiterated recent statements out of Saudi Arabia that if Libya stopped producing oil, the Kingdom could pick up the shortfall.