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Credit Suisse reports third straight annual loss after U.S. tax writedowns

14 February 2018

Activist investor RBR Capital Advisors renewed pressure on Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) for a strategic shakeup after Switzerland's second-biggest bank reported its third consecutive annual loss on Wednesday, hit by writedowns on US deferred tax assets. That helped the bank return an nearly unchanged pretax profit of 729 million francs (725 million in 2016).

The prior year results included net litigation provisions of CHF2.47 billion, primarily relating to the settlements with the US Department of Justice and the National Credit Union Administration Board regarding the bank's legacy residential mortgage-backed securities business.

Credit Suisse ascribed the rise to CEO Tidjane Thiam's three-year deep restructure of the bank.

Analysts had expected Switzerland's second-biggest bank to post a 1.1 billion Swiss franc loss because of the writedown.

Assets under management in the lender's wealth management businesses grew by 13 percent year-on-year to a record 772 billion Swiss francs.

The bank made an annual return on regulatory capital of 3.9 percent.

The bank proposed a 2017 dividend of 0.25 Swiss francs per share.

The bank said market volatility - which was also behind the meltdown of its exchange-traded notes used to bet on stock market swings - was a double-edged sword. "We should generate 4 to 5 billion (francs) of surplus in (2018) which can then be distributed".

Looking at 2018, Credit Suisse said that its market-dependent activities are subject to a number of uncertainties, including changes to interest rates across the world, and it was adopting a "cautious short-term outlook" based on the recent market volatility.

Credit Suisse reports third straight annual loss after U.S. tax writedowns