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Credit Suisse returns to profit in Q4

Thursday - 2/7/2013, 6:00am  ET

JOHN HEILPRIN
Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) -- Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, returned to profit in the fourth quarter of 2012 but said it was planning to cut costs more than previously planned.

The Zurich-based bank said Thursday it made a profit of 397 million Swiss francs ($435 million) during the period, in contrast to last year's loss of 637 million francs.

CEO Brady W. Dougan said 2012 was "a year of transition" as the bank struggled with tough market conditions and made aggressive cuts in costs and risks while meeting new requirements that it hold more capital. But he saw this year starting well.

"Going into 2013, revenues have so far been consistent with the good starts we have seen to prior years, with profitability further benefiting from the strategic measures we took in 2012, including our strengthened capital position and our significantly reduced risks and cost base," Dougan said.

Credit Suisse also reported full-year results for 2012 that showed a net profit of 1.48 billion francs ($1.62 billion), a 24 percent drop from 1.953 billion francs in 2011.

The bank said that by the end of 2015 it would raise its cost-cutting target by 400 million francs to 4.4 billion francs. With some 47,400 staff around the world and 924 million francs in assets as of the fourth quarter, the bank is on the list of the 29 "global systemically important banks" that the Bank for International Settlements -- the Basel, Switzerland-based central bank for central banks -- considers too big to fail.

But the latest financial results also show total assets managed by Credit Suisse were 12 percent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2011. The bank also reported shedding 2,300 jobs during that time.

"We took significant steps to adapt our businesses and our organization to new regulatory requirements, changing client demands and the current market environment," Dougan said.

Shares in Credit Suisse sank 1 percent to 26.73 francs ($29.26). However, they have risen almost 20 percent since the start of the year.

On Tuesday, Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS AG, posted a loss of 1.9 billion francs ($2.1 billion) for the fourth quarter in the wake of a series of lawsuits, scandals and a wave of restructuring.


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