Citigroup Inc shares could more than double by 2012, financial weekly Barron's said in its July 27 edition, citing the company's global footprint and earnings power.

Citi shares closed at $2.77 on Friday, an 88 percent fall from its 52-week high of $23.50 in October.

Barron's said Citi stock could hit $4 within a year and $6.50 by 2012 -- but it said it would be hard-pressed to approach $10 in coming years. The weekly newspaper said the company's appeal is largely based on the fact it is trading at 65 percent of its project tangible book value of $4.25, a sharp discount.

It has been a difficult year for Citi, which has taken $45 billion in bailouts from the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program. Citi has given no timeline for repaying its loans, even though competitors such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co repaid billions to Treasury last month.

No, Citi isn't Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan, Barron's said. Yet this tarnished but still attractive global franchise holds the potential to generate nice profits and decent stock gains as the economy turns.

(Reporting by Steve Eder, editing by Maureen Bavdek)