Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Huge writedowns cause loss at Credit Suisse


Credit Suisse Group has posted a greater-than-expected SFr2.1 billion ($2.1 billion) net loss for the first quarter.

Switzerland’s second-largest bank says it also has net writedowns of SFr5.3 billion for the first three months of the year.

It was the bank’s first quarterly loss in five years and almost three times what analysts had expected. Credit Suisse said in March it was unlikely to post a profit in the first quarter because of rocky markets and a deliberate mispricing of credit assets by a group of traders.

“Our first-quarter results are clearly unsatisfactory,” chief executive Brady Dougan said on Thursday, but he said other operations of the bank did well.

Credit Suisse, which has suffered less than its Swiss rival UBS from bad investments in US mortgage securities, said it has continued to reduce exposure to risk in the market and that other areas of its operations performed well.

The bank posted a net profit of SFr2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2007.

“These are disappointing numbers,” commented Joerg de Vries-Hippen, chief investment officer for European equities at Allianz Global Investors in Frankfurt.

“The only positive thing is that they are not announcing a capital increase, at least not yet.”

However, analyst Peter Thorne had another view in a note he wrote from the Helvea institutional brokerage services firm.

“Given the enormous uncertainty in financial market at the moment and the horror results being reported by some other banks, missing net income by SFr1.4 billion is not a bad result in the circumstances.”

Share slide

Credit Suisse shares, which have slid 43 per cent in the past 12 months, closed at SFr52.55 on Wednesday, giving the bank a market capitalisation of SFr61.6 billion.

“Other than the areas affected directly by the credit crisis, most of our businesses performed well, with revenues near, or in some cases above, those in the first quarter of 2007,” said Dougan.

He said the bank “remains well positioned in an extremely challenging environment”.

Credit Suisse’s capital position is strong, Dougan said, adding that the bank would continue to manage its liquidity conservatively.

“I am confident that we will continue to serve as a safe haven for clients in uncertain and volatile markets, and to seize the opportunities that arise in times of market dislocation to create long-term value,” Dougan said.

swissinfo with agencies

Credit Suisse on February 12 reported net income for 2007 of SFr8.549 billion, down by 25% from a record SFr11.327 billion in 2006.

This was later reduced to SFr7.8 billion after the bank discovered irregularities in the pricing of securities.

At the same time it said that fourth-quarter net profit had dropped 72% to SFr1.33 billion owing to writedowns for investment banking and money-market funds.

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR