Saudi Billionaire Says Citi Will Post Profits in 2010 and 2011

Saudi billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a major shareholder in  Citigroup (C), said the U.S. firm had put the worst behind it and would post a profit this year and next.

“The turnaround for Citi is already happening right now. The shares are up right now so the worst is over,” Alwaleed told Reuters, speaking in his office in Kingdom Tower’s headquarters.

“In 2010, I’m looking for stabilization and profitability also. I’m expecting 2010 to be profitable for Citi,” he said.

When asked if the Q1’2010 would be profitable for the struggling banking giant, Alwaleed, who has always expressed confidence in Citigroup’s universal banking model and global franchise, said: “I don’t know, but I hope (so).”

Prince Alwaleed, who heads Kingdom Holding, the Saudi group which has pumped billions of dollars into ailing Citigroup, said in December his company had lost more than $8 billion in the final quarter of 2008 as a result to losses on financial investments, which include a 5% stake in struggling Citigroup.

Alwaleed has long been one of the biggest investor in the New York -based firm and has a close relationship with Sandy Weill, the bank’s founder and former chief executive.

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