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01 March 2024

Credit Suisse loses 6bn Swiss francs in 2008

By Reuters

Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-largest bank, could report a full-year loss of up to six billion Swiss francs (Dh19.31bn).

The Handelszeitung newspaper quoted an unnamed senior Credit Suisse banker as saying that the bank made a trading loss of about one billion francs per week in October and a full-year loss of six billion. A bank spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Some analysts think the full-year loss could be even higher, given that the bank reported net losses of 2.1 billion francs and 1.3 billion francs in the first and third quarters, respectively, and a net profit of 1.2 billion in the second.

Credit Suisse also revealed last month it made a net loss of about three billion Swiss francs in October and November, primarily in investment banking, due to adverse market conditions and to the cost of reducing risk.

The bank also said it would take a restructuring charge of 900 million Swiss francs, mostly in the fourth quarter, as it cuts 11 per cent of its workforce, or 5,300 jobs.

The bank said on December 31 it would book a 600 million Swiss franc loss in the fourth quarter after it sold a big chunk of its fund management arm to Aberdeen Asset Management. Vontobel analyst Panagiotis Spiliopoulos predicts Credit Suisse made a loss of 4.8 billion francs in the fourth quarter and a loss of seven billion for the full year.

"We think the figure (in Handelszeitung) looks a bit low," he said. "For the fourth quarter there will be trading losses and substantial goodwill impairment."

Shares in Credit Suisse have underperformed in recent days on expectations of a big fourth-quarter loss and concern it might be forced to follow big Swiss rival UBS and seek support from the government. Credit Suisse spokesman Andres Luther declined to comment on the report of the expected loss, but was quoted in the Handelszeitung article as defending the bank against suggestions its trading business took on too much risk.