Credit Suisse Group AG lost about US$60 million late last year after it was left holding shares in a North American clothing company thatslumped during rising trade tensionsbetween Canada and China, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Credit Suisse, which acted as underwriter on the sale of 10 million shares by Canada Goose Holdings Inc. stockholders in late November, saw the value of the stock tumble after the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co’s finance chief in Canada prompted a diplomatic dispute between the two countries, the people said, asking to not to be identified as the loss isn’t public.
The offering was priced at US$65.15 a share, a 1.85 per cent discount to the previous close, a person familiar with the matter said at the time of the deal in late November. The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co.’s finance chief in Vancouver on Dec. 1 prompted Chinese websites to call for a boycott of Canadian brands and a 20 per cent four-day losing streak for the stock later that month.
The bank eventually sold the Canada Goose shares it held at a loss, the people said. Credit Suisse declined to comment on the details of the trade but said that its full-year guidance for reported pretax profit of 3.2 billion francs to 3.4 billion francs for 2018 remains unchanged.
Credit Suisse has scaled down its trading business to focus on wealth management. The lender, led by Tidjane Thiam, just completed a sweeping three-year restructuring program and is now trying to convince investors to stick with the bank by pledging capital returns and growth in profits.
With block trades, a seller typically gathers bids from banks for shares it wants to unload, often at a discount to the most recent price. The bank or group of banks that wins the mandate to arrange the trade seeks to resell the shares at a higher price, ideally within hours. Mandates for block trades are hotly pursued by investment banks because the transactions offer opportunities for a quick profit, and for a boost in the rankings of underwriters.