UBS flags $17bn hit from Credit Suisse takeover

UBS flags $17bn hit from Credit Suisse takeover
UBS said it was rushed into Credit Swiss deal and had less than four days to complete due diligence (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 May 2023

UBS flags $17bn hit from Credit Suisse takeover

UBS flags $17bn hit from Credit Suisse takeover

LONDON: UBS Group AG expects a financial hit of about $17 billion from the takeover of Credit Suisse Group AG, the bank said in a regulatory presentation as it prepares to complete the rescue of its struggling Swiss rival, according to Reuters.

UBS estimates a negative impact of $13 billion from fair value adjustments of the combined group’s assets and liabilities.

It also sees $4 billion in potential litigation and regulatory costs stemming from outflows.

UBS, however, also estimated it would book a one-off gain stemming from the so-called “negative goodwill” of $34.8 billion by buying Credit Suisse for a fraction of its book value.

The financial cushion will help absorb potential losses and could result in a boost to the lender’s second-quarter profit if UBS closes the transaction next month as planned.

UBS said the estimates were preliminary and the numbers could change materially later on. It also said it might book restructuring provisions after that, but offered no numbers.

“The financial information lacks an estimate of restructuring provisions as these will be booked after the transaction closes,” Vontobel analyst Andreas Venditti said in a note.

Analysts at Jefferies have estimated restructuring costs, litigation provisions and the planned winding down of the non-core unit could total $28 billion.

Meanwhile, UBS has implemented a number of restrictions on Credit Suisse while the takeover is underway.

In certain cases, Credit Suisse cannot grant a new credit facility or credit line exceeding 100 million Swiss francs ($113 million) to investment-grade borrowers or more than 50 million Swiss francs to non-investment-grade borrowers, a UBS filing showed.

“Credit Suisse obviously found itself in a problem because of lapses in its risk controls and I think just setting these parameters on the ability or standards to lend out is not very unreasonable,” said Benjamin Quinlan, Hong Kong-based chief executive of financial consultancy firm Quinlan & Associates

“Ultimately, from UBS’ perspective, they will have to wear these risks on their books.”

Credit Suisse also cannot undertake capital expenses of more than 10 million Swiss francs as part of the restrictions or enter into certain contracts worth more than 3 million Swiss francs per year.

The filing shows Credit Suisse cannot order any “material amendments” to its employee terms and conditions, including remuneration and pension entitlements, till deal closure.

The restrictions “will cause certain clients to leave Credit Suisse” but may not accelerate the pace of outflows already seen, said Quinlan, following UBS’ statement last week that Credit Suisse had already stemmed asset outflows.

Rushed into a deal

UBS said it was rushed into the deal and had less than four days to complete due diligence given the ‘emergency circumstances’ as Credit Suisse’s financial health worsened.

UBS agreed in March to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs in stock and to assume up to 5 billion Swiss francs in losses that would stem from winding down part of the business, in a shotgun merger engineered by Swiss authorities over a weekend amid a global banking turmoil.

The deal, the first rescue of a global bank since the 2008 financial crisis, will create a wealth manager with more than $5 trillion in invested assets and over 120,000 employees globally.

The Swiss state is backing the deal with up to 250 billion Swiss francs in public funds.

Switzerland’s government is providing a guarantee of up to 9 billion Swiss francs for further potential losses on a clearly defined part of Credit Suisse portfolio.

UBS signaled no quick turnaround for the 167-year-old Credit Suisse, which came to the brink of collapse during the recent banking sector turmoil after years of scandals and losses.

It said it expected both the Credit Suisse group and its investment bank to report substantial pre-tax losses in the second quarter and the whole of this year.

Following the legal closing of the transaction, UBS Group AG plans to manage two separate parent companies – UBS AG and Credit Suisse AG, UBS said last week. It has said the integration process could take three to four years.

During that time, each institution will continue to have its own subsidiaries and branches, serve its clients and deal with counterparties. 

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project
Updated 34 min 11 sec ago

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project

Newly launched company set sights on Saudi coastal city as first tourism project

ABU DHABI: A Saudi coastal city will be the site of Baheej’s first project in its strategy to develop exciting tourist destinations as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plans.

The development company was launched on Tuesday by Asfar, a Saudi-based tourism investment firm, and a joint venture between AWN Enterprises and Tamimi Group.

Baheej will study each city in Saudi Arabia to identify gaps in a tourist’s itinerary, and speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi, one of the executives involved with the company gave more details of its future plans.

“We are extremely in the early stages. That will be the first asset that will be developed and up and running by, I would say, the beginning of 2027,” said Abdulrahman Al-Bassam, executive chairman of AWN Enterprises and a member of Baheej’s board of directors.

Without sharing further details about the project’s site, the executive confirmed that “it will be a coastal city.”

Al-Bassam said he hoped Baheej would help Saudi Arabia meet its economic diversification goals for tourism, which includes attracting 100 million local and international visitors annually by 2030.

Norah Al-Tamimi, who hails from one of the Kingdom’s most influential family businesses, has been appointed the acting chief executive.

Expanding on the remit of the new initiative, Al-Bassam said: “So if the gap is in, for example, accommodation, we provide accommodation. If the gap is in, let’s say, a visitor center or a beach retreat or you name it, that would be part of the project assets that we would like to develop in a certain city.”

Baheej is also focused on destination management, and will work hand-in-hand with local governments and authorities, as well as “a local tour operator who owns, say, a couple of horses to use in a touristic experience,” said the executive.

Al-Bassam noted that Asfar comes in “with its power as an investor, as well as a catalyst with regional players, be them regulators or service providers or affiliates and companies within the PIF conglomerate.”

Asfar was created by the Public Investment Fund earlier this year to support the Kingdom’s tourism strategy, which is a key part of Vision 2030.

Al-Bassam went on to state: “Whereas our alliance — Tamimi Group and AWN Enterprises — that’s the private partner within this partnership, comes in with their experience in contracting and in professional services as well as the hospitality, restaurants, and catering business.”

The company’s head noted that he views gaps in Saudi Arabia’s tourism as opportunities rather than problems, as this denotes room for improved tourism experiences.

“Each town in Saudi Arabia has its own uniqueness and we would like to tap into this,” he said.

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 
Updated 26 September 2023

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 

Closing Bell – TASI grows 40 points; ADES Holding begins retail subscription 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index concluded its trading on Tuesday at 10,918.24 points, rising 0.37 percent. 

Parallel market Nomu closed at 22,406.83, gaining 169.84 points, or 0.76 percent.   

MSCI Tadawul 30 Index edged up 2.83 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,402.31.   

The primary index’s total turnover touched SR6.2 billion ($1.6 billion), as 93 stocks rose and 126 retreated. Conversely, Nomu recorded a trading turnover of SR86 million. 

Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. was the topmost performer in TASI, soaring 7.86 percent to SR23.60.  

Additionally, Saudi Automotive Services Co. soared 7.77 percent to SR62.40. 

Another notable performer, Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co., jumped 6.27 percent to SR51.70.  

Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development and Aldrees Petroleum and Transport Services Co. climbed 5.56 percent and 5.27 percent to SR2.28 and SR139.80, respectively. 

On the flip side, Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. experienced the most significant drop, plunging 6.25 percent to SR0.15.  

Shares of Thimar Development Holding Co. and Saudi Real Estate Co. dipped 5.14 percent and 3.13 percent to SR26.75 and SR13.62, respectively. 

Sumou Real Estate Co. and First Milling Co. both slumped about 2.7 percent to finish at SR1.30 and SR2, respectively. 

On the announcement front, ADES Holding opened its doors for public subscription of 33.87 million shares, priced at SR13.50 each.   

This valuation pegged at a nominal value of SR1 per share was ascertained through a structured order book-building process. 

The subscription window, initiated by the company, will span three days, concluding on Sept. 28.   

This move follows the green light from the Financial Market Authority on June 21, granting the drilling services company permission to register and make available 338.72 million shares from its total capital pool. 

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination
Updated 26 September 2023

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination

Saudi Arabia’s transformation turns it into a must-visit tourism destination

ABU DHABI: Tourists are expected to add Saudi Arabia to their “bucket list” due to the government’s transformation of the sector, according to industry veteran William Heinecke, founder and chairman of Minor Hotels. 

Speaking during a panel discussion on the second day of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi, Heinecke noted that Saudi Arabia is on the verge of significant change, predicting that the Kingdom will achieve in 10 years what it took Dubai 30 years to accomplish. 

The Kingdom is currently undergoing a remarkable tourism boom, with the sector expanding by 121 percent in 2022, positioning it as the fastest-growing destination in the G20 and surpassing the global average prior to COVID-19, as detailed in an annual report tracking the progress of Vision 2030.   

Data from the real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank revealed that, under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s hotel industry is poised for further expansion, targeting a total of 310,000 hotel rooms by 2030, with an estimated investment of $110 billion. 

Heinecke expressed his admiration for Saudi Arabia’s visionary leader, who is young enough to see through ambitious initiatives. 

“You need someone not only who has the money, but you need someone who has the vision and the passion to stay with it,” he said.  

“When you look at what’s happening in Saudi Arabia, it’s incredible. It’s going to make so many new bucket lists for everybody in the world. And even what’s happened in the Middle East, Dubai, Doha, it's incredible,” Heinecke added.  

In another panel discussion, various factors and trends that are shaping the travel and tourism industry were deliberated. 

Gilda Perez-Alvarado, incoming group chief strategy officer at Accor, a leading hospitality company, highlighted subjects such as innovation, the impact of technology, and broader long-term trends that are affecting the entire ecosystem of travel and hospitality, including hotels.   

“The amount of change we’re witnessing now, which, by the way, was accelerated during the pandemic, is extremely exciting. So, if you ask me what one of the catalysts for change was, it was that,” Perez-Alvarado said during her panel. 

However, she added: “Our industry is still highly fragmented, so there’s plenty of room for growth." 

Perez-Alvarado emphasized that significant changes and developments are taking place in Saudi Arabia that were previously unimaginable. 

“One where you’re seeing things done that no one would have imagined could be done. In 2015, who would have thought that we would have witnessed the changes we’re seeing in Saudi Arabia?” she said. 

Perez-Alvarado concluded by emphasizing that the Middle East is the fastest-growing region, with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 now becoming a reality, demonstrating that ambitious goals can be accomplished, showcasing the region’s ability to turn imaginative ideas into tangible achievements. 

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 
Updated 26 September 2023

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 

UAE’s Yas, Saadiyat islands ‘great and safe’ investment destinations 

ABU DHABI: The UAE’s Yas and Saadiyat islands have emerged as safe havens for investment thanks to the endeavors of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism in grooming them as luxury destinations, said the CEO of a real estate development firm.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Miral Group CEO Mohamed Abdalla Al-Zaabi said both destinations continue to attract investments and tourists in line with the UAE’s vision of economic diversification.

“Abu Dhabi has been listed five times in a row as the safest city in the world. Investment here is very lucrative. Saadiyat and Yas islands are growing very fast,” Al-Zaabi said.

The top executive said: “In 2021, we added three hotels with 1,000 rooms, and now see 90 percent occupancy in summer.”

He said more rooms will be added to help boost the fast-growing tourism sector and ultimately aid the country’s economic diversification plans.   

Al-Zaabi said tourism will play a key role in economic diversification. He said the country wants to increase the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product from 15 percent to 17 percent, which “is not easy to achieve.”

“Hotels will always be a key factor here in that pillar, and we at Miral are proud of what we have done so far. Only in 2021, we opened three hotels on Yas Island. We opened Hilton, DoubleTree and, of course, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery, we opened the WB hotel in Abu Dhabi, which is the first Warner Bros. hotel in the world,” Al-Zaabi said.

He said the Warner Bros. achieved 90 percent occupancy last summer. I think summer now is no longer a low season here in Yas Island.   

“Since 2007, we have been developing Yas Island, introducing new facilities and attractions, and today we see that all coming together under one umbrella, one vision, integrated, and interconnected to provide a very unique and unforgettable experience for our customers,” he said.

Commenting on whether Yas Island can accommodate more, he said they have long been adding attractions, facilities, hotels, and rooms, and they now, with the other partners, are adding more properties, and homes on the islands.

Al-Zaabi also pointed out that they recently announced their environmental, social, and governance strategy focusing on eight areas.

“We have already implemented two great initiatives that I am personally very proud of. We signed an agreement with Emerge, a Masdar subsidiary, to install solar panels, that provide more than 7 megawatts of power to our theme park. And now recently we also did the same at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, where we installed solar panels to supply almost 5 MW,” he said.

The CEO said they are busy with their Phenomena Abdu Dhabi project, in collaboration with the Japanese TeamLab.   

“We are also building the Natural History Museum. Both projects are the result of our collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism. We are also expanding Warner Bros theme park by adding a Harry Potter area, which would be a good expansion to enrich our customer experience on the island,” he said.

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark
Updated 26 September 2023

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark

Saudi hospitality sector emerging as new global benchmark

ABU DHABI: Saudi Arabia’s tourism and hospitality sector is in high gear to achieve industry targets set under Vision 2030, industry leaders said during a panel on Tuesday.

“No sector matches tourism in creating jobs, especially in rural areas and communities that are currently suffering from unemployment. One in every five jobs globally today is supported by tourism, so that’s tourism is such an important sector,” Badr Alherbish, chief strategy officer of Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund, said in one of the sessions of the three-day Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi.

One example of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious development push is the Rua Al Madinah project — a mega mixed-used real estate development to the east of the Prophet’s Mosque — which, according to Ahmed Al-Juhani, CEO of Rua Al Madinah Holding, required laser focus to work around logistical issues to deliver this massive project.

“(Since) the launch, the master plan and infrastructure work… there has been a lot of work done on the ground. We actually took over the land and we made all the detours around the urban development. We completed the design of 5,000 rooms, we signed a hotel management agreement with three companies for these rooms.”

The value of contracts and execution is now more than SR5.3 billion ($1.4 billion), Al-Juhani added, and the company will next month go to the market for the tender of the 5,000 rooms.

“We also have another 7,000 rooms under design right now and in the concept stage and also another 8,000 rooms when start design in November,” he said.

“We are talking about 20,000 rooms before the year ends at different stages: under design, under construction, or in the middle of the design.”

Meanwhile, the Boutique Group headed by Mark DeCocinis is renovating three historic palaces: Al-Hamra Palace which will offer 77 keys including 33 luxury palace suites and 44 luxury villas in Jeddah; Tuwaiq Palace which will provide 96 keys including 40 luxury palace suites and 56 luxury villas; and the Red Palace will offer 71 keys including 46 luxury suites, and 25 luxury guest rooms. Both Tuwaiq and Red Palace are located in Riyadh.

“We’re renovating and restoring these balances, which takes time and it takes a lot of love and attention to detail. Our guest profile, we target the very top of regional and international travelers… we want to provide that exceptional service and personalized service,” DeCocini told the panel.

“I believe Saudi hospitality will be the new benchmark in the world globally.”