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Saudi-listed bank to hold Credit Suisse stake for at least 2 years

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

Saudi National Bank’s investment in Credit Suisse is tactical rather than strategic, its chairman said on Wednesday, adding that the Saudi lender expects to hold its stake in the Swiss bank for at least two years.

SNB, which is listed on the Saudi Exchange (Tadawul), announced in October that it was taking part in Credit Suisse’s capital raising and committed to investing up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.5 billion) to take a stake of up to 9.9 percent.

Bank chairman Ammar Al Khudairy, speaking to Al Arabiya TV, said majority government-owned SNB would not consider selling its stake in the Swiss lender in the short-term.

“We could start to think of exiting perhaps in 2024-2025. The investment will not be for less than two years and could be longer than that,” he said.

When asked whether the bank would raise its stake above 9.9 percent, Al Khudairy said there was no plan to do so. He also said the Saudi lender did not seek a seat on the Credit Suisse board.

“It is a tactical investment more than a strategic investment,” he said, adding it represented about two percent of SNB’s investment book.

Embattled Credit Suisse said last month that it planned to raise 4 billion Swiss francs from investors to fund its restructuring and bolster its balance sheet following a string of scandals and losses.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) plans to raise its stake in Credit Suisse, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, adding that if the deal goes through, up to a quarter of Credit Suisse’s stock could be owned by Middle East investors.