In the latest step of CEO Tidjane Thiam’s plan to restructure and address capital concerns, Credit Suisse plans to raise $4 billion through a share sale.
Months after his CEO appointment in 2015, Thiam announced plans to raise $6.3 billion in capital and cut the bank’s costs by billions of dollars, targeting the end of 2018. The bank estimated at the time that, overall, the restructuring could require raising up to $11 billion. Two years in, Credit Suisse is tapping shareholders a second time. “This capital raise will allow us to continue to invest in growth at highly attractive returns, to strengthen balance sheet resilience for our clients and other stakeholders, and to afford the costs associated with our ongoing restructuring plans”, Thiam said.
Broadly, the Swiss lender is looking to shift its business model away from more risky, capital-intensive trading and banking. Credit Suisse, which has large operations in London and in New York, has downsized its investment bank, and is focusing more on its wealth management business, particularly in Asia as well as other emerging markets.
Analysts had expected Credit Suisse to take such a move to raise capital after it scrapped plans for a partial IPO of Swiss Universal Bank in April. The bank has confirmed that it will retain full ownership of the Swiss division, which is its biggest profit generator. Credit Suisse is the third major European bank to sell shares this year after Deutsche Bank AG and UniCredit SpA.
The fundraising push also comes at a time when Credit Suisse is under investor pressure regarding compensation. Although the bank suffered its second consecutive annual loss in 2016, its bonus pool went up 6%. The bank said that its top executives, including Thiam, will reduce their bonuses by 40% and that the company’s directors will not increase their compensation this year.
Credit Suisse returned to profitability in the first quarter, reporting a profit of 596 million francs, versus a loss of 302 million francs in the same period last year. Revenue rose 19% to 5.5 billion francs. Analysts say the turnaround was driven by strong performance in the wealth management business, as well as an uptick in fixed-income trading in the bank’s global markets business, The New York Times reports. Many of its American rivals also saw an improvement in fixed-income trading in the first quarter, indicating a trend.