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Qatari sovereign fund ups stake in Credit Suisse to just under 7%

REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Qatar Investment Authority owns 272.25 million shares in Credit Suisse

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has increased its stake in Credit Suisse to just under seven percent, becoming the Swiss bank’s second-largest shareholder after Saudi National Bank, in a sign that its Gulf investor base is growing in importance.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) bought 139.03 million shares in the Swiss lender, Refinitiv data shows based on a filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission which quoted its most recent ownership holding as of December 31, 2022.

The new shares bring the QIA’s ownership in Credit Suisse to 6.87 percent, amounting to 272.25 million shares, from 5.57 percent as reported in its last SEC filing in November.

Credit Suisse declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Monday and the QIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Credit Suisse’s shares rose 2.2 percent on Monday to close at 3.15 Swiss francs.

US investment firm Harris Associates, one of Credit Suisse’s largest shareholders, shed its holding to about five percent according to regulatory filings on January 11from a stake of about 10 percent in the bank last August.

Saudi National Bank owns a stake worth about 10 percent in the Swiss lender bank after it became an anchor investor in Credit Suisse’s $4.3 billion capital raise which began in October to fund the bank’s revamp and restructuring. Saudi Arabian conglomerate Olayan Group owns a stake of about three percent, Eikon data shows.

SNB, along with the QIA and Olayan Group, account for about 20 percent of Credit Suisse shares. Credit Suisse outlined plans in October to raise 4 billion Swiss francs from investors, cut thousands of jobs and shift its focus from investment banking towards its rich clients.

The announcement followed a difficult few weeks when the one-time respected Swiss institution had even become a ‘meme stock’ at the centre of a social media storm.

Once a symbol for Swiss reliability, the bank’s reputation has been tarnished by a series of scandals, including an unprecedented prosecution at home involving laundering money for a criminal gang.

In 2021, the bank took a $5.5 billion loss from the unravelling of US investment firm Archegos and had to freeze $10 billion worth of supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill, highlighting risk-management failings.