Credit Suisse crash shocks Gulf investors
The Swiss government agreed to change the law, which would have otherwise required shareholders to agree to the takeover
By News Desk - March 20 2023

Saudi National Bank
(Photo Credit: Bloomberg)

Gulf shareholders are among the top losers of the recent Credit Suisse Group AG debacle, as fellow Swiss bank UBS Group AG agreed to acquire the troubled lender on 19 March at a steep discount of just $3.25 billion, according to CNN.

Before the acquisition deal, the value of Credit Suisse stock had dropped 60 percent since last Friday’s market close, making West Asian shareholders, who own one-fifth of the bank, some of its biggest losers.

UBS issued a statement on Sunday evening saying that the rescue of Credit Suisse would “secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy.”

The Saudi National Bank, which is one of Credit Suisse’s top shareholders, saw its investment decrease by around $1 billion over the past few months.

The Saudi National Bank, which is 37 percent owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, invested around $1.4 billion into Credit Suisse at the end of last year. The investment is now worth just $329 million, according to Yahoo Finance. The bank owned around 9.9 percent of Credit Suisse’s shares.

Since the initial investment by Saudi Arabia’s largest lender, Credit Suisse has lost more than $25 billion of its overall market value.

Following the takeover, Credit Suisse shareholders will only receive $0.82 per share, while the stock traded as high as $1.96 per share on Friday and at more than $82 at its highest point in 2007.

Meanwhile, the holders of the $17 billion in “additional tier one” bonds will lose everything, according to Swiss regulators.

Credit Suisse acknowledged “material weakness” last week in its bookkeeping, causing a liquidity issue as fears of an impending financial collapse emerged with the demise of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

“This acquisition is attractive for UBS shareholders but, let us be clear, as far as Credit Suisse is concerned, this is an emergency rescue,” UBS chairman Colm Kelleher told reporters.

“It is absolutely essential to the financial structure of Switzerland and … to global finance,” he added.

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