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Qatar Investment Authority raises stake in Credit Suisse to just under 7 per cent

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Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has increased its stake in Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) to just under 7 per cent, becoming the Swiss bank’s second-largest shareholder after Saudi National Bank, in a sign that its Gulf investor base is growing in importance.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) bought 139.03 million shares in the Swiss lender, Refinitiv data shows based on a filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission which quoted its most recent ownership holding as of December 31, 2022.

The new shares bring the QIA’s ownership in Credit Suisse to 6.87 per cent, amounting to 272.25 million shares, from 5.57 per cent as reported in its last SEC filing in November.

Credit Suisse declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Monday and the QIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Credit Suisse’s shares rose 2.2 per cent on Monday to close at 3.15 Swiss francs.

US investment firm Harris Associates, one of Credit Suisse’s largest shareholders, shed its holding to about 5 per cent, according to regulatory filings on January 11 from a stake of about 10 per cent in the bank last August.

Saudi National Bank (1180.SE) owns a stake worth about 10 per cent in the Swiss lender bank after it became an anchor investor in Credit Suisse’s $4.3 billion capital raise which began in October to fund the bank’s revamp and restructuring. Saudi Arabian conglomerate Olayan Group owns a stake of about 3 per cent, Eikon data shows. SNB, along with the QIA and Olayan Group, account for about 20 per cent of Credit Suisse shares.

Credit Suisse outlined plans in October to raise 4 billion Swiss francs from investors, cut thousands of jobs and shift its focus from investment banking towards its rich clients.

The announcement followed a difficult few weeks when the one-time respected Swiss institution had even become a ‘meme stock’ at the centre of a social media storm.

Once a symbol for Swiss reliability, the bank’s reputation has been tarnished by a series of scandals, including an unprecedented prosecution at home involving laundering money for a criminal gang.

In 2021, the bank took a $5.5 billion loss from the unravelling of US investment firm Archegos and had to freeze $10 billion worth of supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill, highlighting risk-management failings.

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