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Merger rumours boost UBS and Credit Suisse shares

Will UBS and Credit Suisse, here in Zurich’s Paradeplatz, become more than neighbours? Keystone

Shares of Credit Suisse and UBS moved to the top of SMI stocks on Monday morning after a media report said the Swiss banks were planning a merger.

The chairmen of UBS Group and Credit Suisse Group were exploring a potential merger to create one of Europe’s largest banks, wrote Inside Paradeplatz, citing unidentified people inside the two lenders.

The project, nicknamed Signal, is being driven by UBS Chairman Axel Weber, who is working on it with his counterpart at Credit Suisse, Urs Rohner, the Swiss finance blog said. Weber has discussed the idea with Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer and an agreement could happen by early next year, according to the report.

A merger could result in job cuts equal to between 10% and 20% of the workforce, or 15,000 or more worldwide, according to the report. Banking regulator FINMA had been informed of the deliberations, Inside Paradeplatz said.

Spokespeople for the two banks declined to comment.

“Necessity is the key to fusionism,” one market observer said on the speculation.

Europe’s banking industry is under pressure to consolidate as the coronavirus pandemic adds to headwinds from negative interest rates.

Shares in Credit Suisse had gained 4.4% and UBS 2.5% by 5pm on Monday. However, both shares have so far this year been down 23% and 7% respectively.

SMI

The Swiss Market Index (SMI) is Switzerland’s blue-chip stock market index and comprises 20 of the largest and most-liquid large- and mid-cap stocks of the Swiss Performance Index (SPI), a collection of all securities traded on the Zurich-based SIX Swiss Exchange from companies based in Switzerland.

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About Swissinfo
Swissinfo
SWI swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, swissinfo.ch has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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