December 1, 2023

Investment Banking

Let Your Investment Banking Do The Walking

Credit Suisse Hires 20 Banks for $4 Billion Capital Increase

(Bloomberg) — Credit Suisse Group AG disclosed a large roster of banks that will help it drum up $4 billion in capital to fund its extensive restructuring and laid out more detail about the discounted price it will offer shareholders.

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The Swiss bank said new investors led by the Saudi National Bank have already committed to contribute 1.76 billion francs ($1.76 billion). Existing shareholders will get the chance to buy new shares at 2.52 francs per share, in a capital raise that Credit Suisse hired about 20 banks to help complete.

Having a large number of underwriters makes it easier to find buyers and reduces the risk for the investment banks to get stuck holding a large amount of the shares. The unveiling of Credit Suisse’s strategy on Thursday triggered the biggest single-day decline on record, with the shares tumbling 19%, as investors weighed the high costs of the plan, the modest return predictions and the massive dilution.

In total, Credit Suisse plans to issue 1.35 billion new shares, an increase of more than half compared with the 2.65 billion common shares it had outstanding at the end of September. The bank is tapping shareholders to help fund a restructuring that includes slashing the workforce by 17% and breaking up its investment banking unit, after years of missteps and steep losses.

The Saudi National Bank is set to own a stake of just under 10% if it participates in the rights offering, after agreeing to buy shares for about 1.17 billion francs in the first step of Credit Suisse’s two-pronged capital raising, a placement to qualified investors. The SNB had committed to invest as much as 1.5 billion francs in total, though the terms disclosed now indicate it will only spend about 1.4 billion francs.

Chairman Ammar Al Khudairy ruled out providing additional equity for the moment.

“We like where we are at 9.9%,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “At this stage we’re not interested in moving from a tactical shareholder into a different category in terms of our relationship with Credit Suisse.”

Credit Suisse’s new Chief Financial Officer Dixit Joshi on Friday held a due diligence call for the capital increase with a group of bankers. On top of the lead banks that it had already announced last week — Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, Deutsche Bank AG and Societe Generale SA — Credit Suisse invited a long list of lenders to help with the underwriting of newly issued shares, Bloomberg reported over the weekend.

The Swiss bank on Monday said it hired Wall Street names such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a division of Stifel Financial Corp., European lenders such as BNP Paribas SA and Barclays Plc, as well as firms in Asia.

While the number of banks is relatively high for a deal of this size, it’s not without precedent among financial firms’ offerings. When Deutsche Bank raised 8 billion euros ($7.9 billion) in 2017 as part of its turnaround efforts, it enlisted a syndicate of 30 underwriters.

Participating in rights issues of banks is widely seen as a lucrative mandate for investment banks as they seek to move up in league tables. For financial institutions giving mandates to each other for strategic initiatives such as deals or rights issues is also a tool used to manage relationships.

Financial institutions are intertwined and work together on a daily basis from interbank lending to cash management to bond issuance and custodial services. The risk to signing up to a capital raise is a crash in a company’s share price. If the underwriter doesn’t manage to sell off the shares, they will end up on its own books.

–With assistance from Yousef Gamal El-Din.

(Updates with terms in second paragraph, investor comment in sixth.)

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