Home Share Market Credit Suisse flags fourth-quarter loss of up to $1.58 billion By Reuters

Credit Suisse flags fourth-quarter loss of up to $1.58 billion By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

By John Revill

ZURICH (Reuters) -Credit Suisse expects to make a pre-tax loss of up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.58 billion) in its fourth quarter, as the Swiss bank prepares to seek shareholder approval for a $4 billion fundraising.

The bank said on Wednesday “challenging” economic and market environment had had an adverse effect on client activity, while cash outflows across the business had increased at the start of its fourth quarter.

The profit warning is the latest setback for the embattled lender which had previously said it expected to make a net loss during the last three months of the year but did not give a figure.

Credit Suisse is to hold an extraordinary general meeting later on Wednesday where it will seek approval for the capital increase to fund a recovery from the biggest crisis in its 166-year history.

The bank has been battered by a string of scandals and losses, including a $5.5 billion loss from the unravelling of U.S. investment firm Archegos. It also had to freeze $10 billion worth of supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill.

“The Investment Bank has been impacted by the substantial industry-wide slowdown in capital markets and reduced activity in the Sales & Trading businesses, exacerbating normal seasonal declines, and the group’s relative underperformance,” Switzerland’s second-largest bank said.

“Credit Suisse would expect the Investment Bank and the Group to report a substantial loss before taxes in the fourth quarter 2022, of up to CHF 1.5 billion for the Group.”

This follows a pre-tax loss of 342 million francs in the third quarter and of 1.94 billion francs year-to-date.

Client activity had remained subdued in the Wealth Management and Swiss Bank divisions, a situation expected to continue in the coming months, the bank said.

At the group level, as of Nov. 11, net asset outflows were around 6% of assets under management at the end of the third quarter, a higher level than the level during the third quarter.

In Wealth Management, outflows had reduced “substantially” from the high levels of the first two weeks of October, though they have not yet reversed, and were around 10% of assets under management at the end of the third quarter of 2022.

Analysts expressed concern about the outflows, which Bank Vontobel estimated to be around 84 billion Swiss francs of group assets under management.

“The massive net outflows in Wealth Management, CS’s core business alongside the Swiss Bank, are deeply concerning – even more so as they have not yet reversed,” said Vontobel analyst Andreas Venditti.

“CS needs to restore trust as fast as possible – but that is easier said than done.”

The bank’s shares, which have lost 59% in value this year, opened 2.7% lower.

Credit Suisse also highlighted its efforts to improve its balance sheet and reduce risk, including bond sales which raised $5 billion and selling part of its Securitized Products Group.

At the end of October, Credit Suisse unveiled a plan to cut thousands of jobs and shift its focus away from investment banking and towards less turbulent wealth management.

It said it was also making progress towards its goal of reducing costs by 15% by 2025, including cutting expenditure by around 1.2 billion francs by the end of 2023.

“The Group continues to execute on the decisive strategic actions detailed on October 27, 2022, to create a simpler, more focused and more stable bank,” it said.

($1 = 0.9507 Swiss francs)

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