"The answer is absolutely no."
These were the words of Ammar Abdul Wahed Al Khudairy, president of the Saudi National Bank (SNB) when asked by a Bloomberg journalist on March 15 if the bank, Credit Suisse's main shareholder until its purchase by UBS, was considering injecting more liquidity into it. to the Swiss entity.
Two weeks after those statements, which triggered a financial earthquake on European soil and ended with the merger of the entity with UBS, the SNB has accepted the resignation "for personal reasons" of Al Khudairy.
The until now CEO of the bank, Saeed Mohammed Al Ghamdi, will become the new president.
Al Khudairy's words ignited the panic in markets that already distrusted the battered Swiss entity.
Suddenly stripped of the shield of its biggest investor, the shares fell 24% at close, after having plummeted more than 30%.
One day after his statements, the Arab banker tried to calm investors on NBC, by defending that he was only repeating the same message that the SNB has been broadcasting since last October.
His words, he defended, were used as "excuses" to trigger a "panic" that, in his opinion, was "completely unjustified."
Excuses or not, Al Khudairy's statements marked the beginning of the end for Credit Suisse: in a few days its shares plummeted and customers began to withdraw their money, exacerbating the flight of deposits of more than 100,000 million that the entity had already suffered in the last quarter of 2022. On Thursday, March 16, the bank requested 50,000 million in loans from the Swiss National Bank to shore up its liquidity.
But on Friday, with deposit withdrawals accelerating at a rate of 10 billion a day, the authorities became convinced that there was no way for it to continue on its own: a buyer was needed, and the one chosen was the first Swiss bank, the USB.
The purchase was formalized for 3,000 million euros.
Saudi National Bank, controlled 37% by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, acquired a 9.88% stake in Credit Suisse for 1.4 billion Swiss francs (1.415 million euros) last fall as part of the capital increase launched by the entity.
Although it promised to be profitable – they paid 3.82 francs per share in November, 60% less than what it was worth two years earlier, and far from the peak of more than 80 francs in 2007 – the business has turned out to be ruinous: the Saudi bank 80% of your investment.
1,000 million evaporated in just five months, about seven million a day.
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