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Credit Suisse bosses ramped up stock buys in last months of 2022

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 23 Mar 2023, 10:42 PM
Tan KW
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Credit Suisse Group AG leaders scooped up stock of the Swiss bank at what looked like a low price in the months before its collapse and historic sale to arch rival UBS Group AG.

The lender’s directors spent a net 2.2 million Swiss francs (US$2.4 million or RM10.61 million) on almost 720,000 shares in the last three months of 2022, as the troubled bank outlined plans for a turnaround, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the biggest number of shares purchased in a quarter since 2016.

Chairman Axel Lehmann accounted for almost half the total spent, buying 250,000 shares at 4.06 francs apiece on Oct 28, the day after the Zurich-based bank unveiled its now-doomed rebuild strategy, according to the firm’s management transactions and a person familiar with the matter. That’s five times more than the price for UBS’ government-brokered takeover of Credit Suisse.

The acquisitions underscore how Credit Suisse went from harbouring ambitions of rebooting to a failed lender in just a few months amid the biggest banking crisis since 2008.

In late October, chief executive officer Ulrich Koerner touted the launch of a “new” Credit Suisse, which had more than 20 people across its senior management and non-executive directors before its collapse. They included Koerner and Lehmann, a former UBS director who took over as the chairman in early 2022, after Antonio Horta-Osorio was ousted just nine months into the role.

As part of its turnaround efforts, Credit Suisse completed a four billion franc capital increase from investors in early December. Among those contributing were Saudi National Bank, whose own chairman helped spark the Swiss lender’s downfall this month after ruling out allocating more capital.

Credit Suisse directors bought almost 500,000 shares in the days before the capital increase closed, paying 2.52 francs a share, the same price offered to other investors. Fewer than 30,000 shares were sold for 4.22 francs each in early November. 

A representative of the lender declined to comment.


  - Bloomberg


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