Greensill lender Credit Suisse suffers 'unacceptable' loss

Image source, Reuters

Credit Suisse has asked investors for almost $2bn as it seeks to rebuild its finances after suffering what the chief executive called "unacceptable" losses.

The Swiss banking giant, one of the most venerable names in the industry, has been rocked by two high profile bankruptcies.

On Thursday, Swiss regulators announced they were widening probes into Credit Suisse's activities.

These relate to dealings with two firms, Archegos and Greensill.

Credit Suisse suffered a multi-billion-dollar hit after Archegos, a US hedge fund, folded.

The bank is also a creditor of failed financial firm Greensill, which hit the headlines over its role funding the UK's Liberty Steel and lobbying by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

On Thursday, Credit Suisse posted a 757m Swiss franc ($827m; £594m) loss for the first three months of the year, having previously warned that losses could reach SFr900m.

It would have been the bank's best trading quarter for a decade, but Credit Suisse was forced to write off SFr4.4bn related to the Archegos collapse.

"The loss we report this quarter, because of this [Archegos] matter, is unacceptable," the bank's chief executive, Thomas Gottstein, said in statement.

As part of measures to bolster its finances, Credit Suisse said it would raise SFr 1.7bn ($1.9bn; £1.5bn) from investors. The news sent the Credit Suisse share price 5% lower in early trading. The shares have sunk 30% since the start of March.

The Swiss financial regulator Finma was already looking into Credit Suisse's links to Greensill, and on Thursday announced it would now look into its involvement with Archegos.

Reputation damage

In London on Thursday, administrators overseeing Greensill's activities said that its Australian parent company had entered liquidation.

The administrator will now wind down Greensill activities and attempt to sell off parts of the business to help repay creditors.

Mr Gottstein has been grappling with limiting the damage to Credit Suisse's reputation and retaining both clients and staff.

He is expected to be helped in those efforts soon by former Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, who is widely reported to become Credit Suisse's next chairman.

But analysts have said the crisis at Credit Suisse will cast a long shadow over the bank. "The full consequences from the reputational loss will only be visible over time," said Andreas Venditti, an analyst at Vontobel bank,