Credit Suisse to Buy Back up to $3 Billion in Shares, Swiss lender says it will raise its dividend 5% annually starting next year


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Credit Suisse Group AG on Wednesday moved to shore up confidence among investors by launching a share buyback of up to 3 billion Swiss francs ($3 billion) over the next two years, as the Swiss banking giant confronts a steep drop in its share price.

The Swiss banking giant will buy between 1 billion and 1.5 billion francs in shares next year, it said ahead of its investor day seminar in London. It added it expects to buy a similar amount in 2020, subject to market conditions, and will raise its dividend 5% annually starting next year.

Analysts said the share buyback was in line with their expectations. Wednesday’s meeting with analysts and investors came at the end of a three-year restructuring launched by Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam, who joined the bank in mid-2015. Under the revamp, Credit Suisse geared its business toward wealth management while streamlining its investment-banking unit.



After three straight annual losses through 2017—brought on by restructuring charges, legal settlements and, last year, U.S. corporate tax changes—the bank is on track to turn a profit this year. “The actions taken during the restructuring mean that the bank is now more resilient in the face of market turbulence,” Mr. Thiam said Wednesday.

Still, after rising sharply from the middle of 2016 through last year, Credit Suisse’s share price has fallen by more than one third since the start of 2018. Shares of its Swiss rival UBS Group AG have declined by a slightly smaller rate.

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Swiss banks have struggled this year as they continued to shift their business models toward managing money for wealthy clients around the world.

The costs associated with these strategic changes have been exacerbated by negative interest rates in Switzerland—which have cost the banks more than 5 billion francs in the past four years—and tight regulatory requirements that have capped growth in parts of their businesses.

Doubts about Credit Suisse’s global markets unit, which posted a pretax loss of 96 million francs last quarter, have added to pressure on its share price.

The bank said it sees a positive long-term outlook for the global economy, “albeit at a lower level,” and that it was mindful of “short-term headwinds” from trade tensions and changes to central banks’ policies.

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