Investors, skeptical of Credit Suisse’s turnaround plans, sent the Swiss firm’s shares to a two-decade low after it posted a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and its first full-year loss since 2008.
Credit Suisse on Thursday said it lost 5.8 billion Swiss francs ($5.8 billion), due to bigger-than-expected restructuring charges and trading losses. The company reported a goodwill impairment of 3.8 billion francs, and chief executive Tidjane Thiam said in an earnings call that he expects markets to remain volatile in the first part of this year.
While Thiam expressed confidence that the company would meet his target of more than doubling pretax profit by 2018 by shrinking the volatile trading business and building up wealth management in Asia – and announced an acceleration of staff reductions – Credit Suisse’s shares still dropped as much as 13% on Thursday in Zurich, according to Bloomberg.
“The problem is that he set some really demanding targets, and he’s now having to adapt to perhaps a new paradigm,” Christopher Wheeler, an analyst at Atlantic Equities, said on Bloomberg Television. “That means he has to make deeper cuts at the investment bank to really see the wealth-management performance shine through.”
The shares tumbled to the lowest since 1991 and were down 11% at 14.68 francs at 4:40 p.m. in Zurich. They have dropped about 32% percent this year.
“The numbers are terrible,” AlphaValue analyst Dieter Hein told Bloomberg. “In the mid-to-long term, it’s right to focus on growth in Asia, but what bad timing given the current environment.”
At other European financial institutions, Deutsche Bank’s securities unit posted a loss for the fourth quarter, while UBS’s profit fell in both its wealth-management division and investment bank.
At Credit Suisse, revenue at the units that house trading, advisory, and underwriting businesses outside of Switzerland and Asia fell 35% percent to a combined $1.5 billion. Excluding goodwill impairments and restructuring costs, the units posted a pretax loss of $761 million combined for the period, compared with a profit of $516 million a year earlier.