It wasn’t even six months ago that Saudi National Bank paid $1.5 billion for a 9.9% stake in Credit Suisse.
That stake is now worth about $215 million after UBS
reportedly swooped in to acquire its fallen rival for more than $2 billion.
See: UBS reportedly reaches deal to buy Credit Suisse for more than $2 billion
And while the Saudis certainly can’t be blamed for the raft of scandals and mistakes made by Credit Suisse
it may be their own missteps that led to the Swiss authorities finally having enough.
The chairman of Saudi National Bank, Ammar Al Khudiary, went on Bloomberg TV on Wednesday and was asked if it would increase its stake. “The answer is absolutely not, for many reasons outside the simplest reason, which is regulatory and statutory,” he said.
Investors panicked, sending Credit Suisse shares down 24%, even though his comments were fairly consistent with what the bank had said in October. At that time, it said it had no current plans to go beyond a 9.9% shareholding, though it did say “any future investment would be appraised individually at the time by carefully considering the merits of such investment based on financial impact, capital treatment and long-term shareholder value creation.”
Saudi National Bank also made clear they weren’t interested in expanding internationally, so the Credit Suisse investment was a “financial opportunity” with potential benefits in serving its own wealthy clients with Credit Suisse products and services.
The Saudis aren’t the only Middle Eastern investor nursing a heavy paper loss. The Qatar Investment Authority has a 6.8% stake in Credit Suisse, its sixth largest position in its portfolio. Olayan Group, which is headquartered in Liechtenstein but whose founder was a major Saudi businessman, is the number-three shareholder.
Another major shareholder is the Norges Bank Investment Management, the sovereign wealth fund of Norway.