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Qatar wealth fund becomes major shareholder in French oil company

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund bought a two per cent stake of the French oil company Total.

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Qatar's sovereign wealth fund recently accumulated a stake in France's Total oil company. (Mychele Daniau/AFP/Getty Images)

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund recently accumulated a 2 per cent stake in France's major oil company Total SA.

The oil-rich nation began building up shares in the oil giant last summer and now has a stake of more than 2 billion euros, making it one of the company's top five shareholders, said Les Echos.

According to Reuters, the investment puts it on par with the stake owned by China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange, a state-owned Chinese agency that governs foreign exchange activity and is partnered with the country's sovereign wealth fund.

The move is just one of several strategic investments in France by Qatar, which includes stakes in media company Lagerdere, building company Vinci and environmental technology company Veolia.

Qatar also own the storied French football club, Paris St. Germain.

French authorities were quick to ease any fears of a foreign country buying pieces of French "champions."

According to the Financial Times, French Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse said, "This is two percent of Total's capital, this is not enough to have decision-making power at a very big French company."

The AFP said Total refused to comment.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/120314/qatar-sovereign-wealth-fund-buys-stake-frances-total