The country's largest banking company said a Saudi Arabian prince has agreed to buy $590 million in stock, part of Citicorp's plan to boost investor confidence.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who made his fortune in Saudi construction and real estate, could boost his stake in Citicorp to 14.9 percent through the deal. Prince Alwaleed was already the company's largest shareholder, with 4.9 percent of outstanding stock."This personal investment demonstrates my full support for Citicorp and its management," he said in a statement.

Thursday's deal would give him convertible preferred stock that could be changed to 36.875 million shares of Citicorp common stock at $16 per share, the bank said.

The preferred stock is convertible after Oct. 1, if regulators approve the conversion.

Citicorp said the private placement - an agreement between parties that does not occur on a stock exchange - is the first step in its plan to raise $1 billion to $1.5 billion in equity capital. The bank is hoping to sell more preferred stock.

Citicorp Chairman John Reed announced last month that the banking company is seeking an additional $4 billion to $5 billion in capital over the next two years. Citicorp is seeking to strengthen its financial structure amid one of the most severe downturns for banks since the Depression.

In the fourth quarter of 1990, Citicorp announced losses of $382 million because of reserves set aside to cut loan losses and expenses for jobs cuts. The company plans to cut 8,000 workers from a worldwide payroll of about 90,000.

According to several published reports, Citicorp also is said to be interested in selling a 20 percent stake in its lucrative credit card business, which could raise an estimated $1 billion. The company has refused to confirm or deny the reports.