Wednesday 21 November 2018

Activist looks to raise funds to increase stake in Credit Suisse

RBR has so far invested almost half its 250m francs in assets to buy roughly 0.2pc of Credit Suisse, which it believes would be worth twice as much if the bank focused solely on wealth management and its Swiss business. (AP)
RBR has so far invested almost half its 250m francs in assets to buy roughly 0.2pc of Credit Suisse, which it believes would be worth twice as much if the bank focused solely on wealth management and its Swiss business. (AP)

Joshua Franklin and Oliver Hirt

Activist investor RBR Capital Advisors wants to expand its stake in Credit Suisse to 1bn Swiss francs (€862m), as the hedge fund pushes to spin off the Swiss lender's investment bank and asset management business.

RBR has so far invested almost half its 250m francs in assets to buy roughly 0.2pc of Credit Suisse, which it believes would be worth twice as much if the bank focused solely on wealth management and its Swiss business.

RBR chief executive Rudolf Bohli is trying to drum up fresh cash to take a larger position in Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank.

"Currently the RBR fund has invested 100m," Bohli told Reuters. "We aim to raise an additional 900m."

The boutique Swiss hedge fund went public this week with its campaign to split up Credit Suisse into three parts: an investment bank, an asset management group and a wealth manager accommodating its Swiss retail and corporate banking operations.

Success hinges on winning support from other investors, with Bohli saying his firm has signed non-disclosure agreements with 150 investors, mainly non-Credit Suisse shareholders.

RBR, which has had mixed success in previous activist campaigns against asset manager GAM and airline catering company Gategroup, has not set a timeframe for its campaign.

However, Bohli said the fund would abandon the effort if shareholders are not receptive to the proposals. In a presentation prepared for the JP Morgan Robin Hood Investor Conference in New York, Bohli also pushed for Credit Suisse to completely overhaul its IT infrastructure.

Investors and analysts have so far taken a sceptical view on the chances of success for RBR, which has received input from Gael de Boissard, a former Credit Suisse investment bank co-head who left the bank in 2015.

Reuters

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