Credit Suisse to buy back $3 billion in debt, sell landmark hotel as credit fears persist

Signage hangs over the entrance of a Credit Suisse Group AG branch in Zurich, Switzerland, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Inflation in Switzerland has more than doubled since the start of the year and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs expects it to come in at a three-decade-high of 3% for 2022. Photographer: Pascal Mora/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Troubled bank Credit Suisse offered to buy back up to 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.03 billion) of debt securities Friday, as it navigates a plunging share price and a rise in bets against its debt.

The Swiss lender also confirmed that it is selling its famous Savoy Hotel in Zurich’s financial district, prompting some speculation that it is scrambling for liquidity.

In a statement Friday regarding the offer to repurchase debt securities, Credit Suisse said: “The transactions are consistent with our proactive approach to managing our overall liability composition and optimizing interest expense and allow us to take advantage of market conditions to repurchase debt at attractive prices.”

It comes after Credit Suisse’s shares briefly hit an all-time low earlier this week, and credit default swaps hit a record high, amid market’s skittishness over its future.

The embattled lender is embarking on a massive strategic review under a new CEO after a string of scandals and risk management failures, and will give a progress update alongside its quarterly earnings on Oct. 27.

The most costly of the scandals was the bank’s $5 billion exposure to hedge fund Archegos, which collapsed in March 2021. Credit Suisse has since overhauled its management team, suspended share buybacks and cut its dividend as it looks to shore up its future.

Shares closed at 4.22 Swiss francs on Thursday. They are down over 50% year to date.

On Friday, the bank announced a cash tender offer relating to eight euro or sterling-denominated senior debt securities, worth up to 1 billion euros ($980 million), along with 12 U.S. dollar-denominated securities worth up to $2 billion. The offers on the debt securities will expire by Nov. 3 and Nov. 10, respectively.