Credit Suisse shares slide after Saudi backer rules out further aid

Commuters cycle past a bank branch of Credit Suisse Group AG in Basel, Switzerland, on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. Credit Suisse will report its third quarter results and strategy overview on October 27.

Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Credit Suisse shares fell to a new all-time low for the second straight day on Wednesday after a top investor in the struggling Swiss bank said it could no longer provide cash due to regulatory restrictions.

Trading in the bank’s falling shares was halted several times throughout the morning as it fell below 2 Swiss francs ($2.17) for the first time.

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Credit Suisse was trading 17% lower as of 2:10 p.m. London time (10:10 a.m. ET), erasing some of its earlier losses after falling more than 30% at one point.

The share price tumble sparked a broader sell-off among European lenders, who were already facing significant market turmoil due to the impact of Silicon Valley Bank. Among the biggest losers were France’s Societe Generale, Spain’s Banco de Sabadell and Germany’s Commerzbank.

Several Italian banks were also subject to automatic trading halts on Wednesday, including UniCreditFinecoBank and Monte dei Paschi.

Credit Suisse’s biggest investor, the Saudi National Bank, said it could not provide any more financial support to the Swiss bank, according to a Reuters report, sparking the latest decline.

“We can’t because we would go over 10%. It’s a regulatory issue,” the Governor of the National Bank of Saudi Arabia, Ammar Al Khudairy, told Reuters on Wednesday. However, he added that the SNB was happy with Credit Suisse’s transformation plan and indicated that the bank was unlikely to need any additional money.

The Saudi National Bank took a 9.9% stake in Credit Suisse last year as part of the Swiss lender’s $4.2 billion capital raise to fund a massive strategic overhaul aimed at improving investment banking performance and address a litany of risks and compliance failures.

Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is'red flag' for banking system: Credit Suisse chairman

Credit Suisse CEO Ulrich Koerner tried to defend the bank’s liquidity base on Wednesday, saying it was “very, very strong,” Reuters reported, citing an interview with CAN.

Koerner adds: “We basically meet and exceed all regulatory requirements.”

Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble during a panel session Wednesday morning in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann declined to comment on whether his firm would need any type of government support going forward.

When asked if he would rule out assistance, Lehmann replied: “That’s not the issue.”

“We are regulated, we have strong capital ratios, a very strong balance sheet. We’re all on board. So that’s not the issue at all.”

“Material Weaknesses” Credit Suisse shares slide after Saudi backer rules out further aid

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