Credit Suisse posts record full-year loss


Credit Suisse posted a worse-than-expected fourth-quarter net loss of 6 billion Swiss francs ($5.2 billion), taking it to its biggest-ever annual loss, due to a poor trading performance and restructuring charges.

But the Swiss bank said it had a made a “strong start” to 2009 and all its divisions were showing a pre-tax profit in the year to date.

Switzerland's second-largest bank said yesterday that its net loss for the full year was 8.2 billion francs, in line with what some Swiss newspapers had predicted, but below analysts' average forecast of 6.3 billion francs.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the bank to turn in a 4 billion franc net loss for the quarter. “The loss looks bigger than expected, which is strange given that they profit-warned," said Citibank analyst Jeremy Sigee.

“Inflows in the private bank look disappointing. A good aspect is that they have said January was positive, but the first impression is that the report is weak.”

Credit Suisse's results come a day after Swiss competitor UBS announced a full-year net loss of nearly 20 billion francs, the biggest in Swiss corporate history, but also said 2009 had started better.

Shares in Credit Suisse were indicated to open down 4.5 per cent at 29.50 francs, while UBS shares were seen off 3.9 per cent at 13.1 francs, data provided by bank Clariden Leu showed at 7.04am.

Credit Suisse, like other smaller Swiss banks, has benefited from an exodus of clients from UBS, which said yesterday it had net new money outflows of 58.2 billion francs from its wealth management unit in the fourth quarter.

Credit Suisse said its private banking business remained solidly profitable in 2008 and recorded net new assets of 50.9 billion francs, which CEO Dougan said “underscored the trust that clients place in Credit Suisse”.