Hopes run high for Credit Suisse multi-billion cash call

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Shares have rallied from historic low

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Trading comfortably above deal subscription price

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Credit Suisse aims to fund turnaround, strengthen balance sheet

By Lucy Raitano and Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse on Thursday headed into the final stage of a 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.25 billion) cash call that it hopes will allow an overhaul to draw a line under years of scandals.

Despite widespread market uncertainty, five bankers involved in Thursday's 2.2 billion-franc rights issue said they were confident investors would take up more than 90% of the offer and leave them to mop up only a residual amount of shares.

Credit Suisse has already placed some 1.8 billion francs worth of shares with a group of institutional investors led by Saudi National Bank.

The five bankers, who asked not to be named, pointed to the stock’s improved performance over the last few days, as well as the volume of rights changing hands, as a sign that investors were buying into the capital increase.

The result is expected to be announced after market close on Thursday.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

The combined 4 billion franc package is meant to fund a turnaround and strengthen the balance sheet as the Swiss lender strives to move on from scandals and heavy losses that prompted speculation about its future and led to large withdrawals of cash by its customers.

Shares in Credit Suisse bounced back from historic lows last week as its leadership sought to reassure markets.

After closing above 3 Swiss francs on Monday, they have retreated slightly, finishing Wednesday’s session at 2.851 Swiss francs.

Crucially, they have held above the deal subscription price of 2.52 Swiss francs and were at 2.821 Swiss francs, down around 1% in mid-session trade on Thursday.

Meanwhile, investors rushed to sell any unexercised rights ahead of Tuesday’s rights trading deadline, sources said. Rights give holders the option to buy shares at a discount through the capital increase and thus carry monetary value.

A wide spread between a company’s share price during a rights issue and the deal’s subscription price is often seen as indicative of market appetite.

If shares drop below the issue price, investors can buy them cheaper on the open market, leading to a lower deal take-up and potentially saddling underwriting banks with leftover stock.

Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second largest bank, has been battered by a string of scandals and losses, including a $5.5 billion loss from the unravelling of U.S. investment firm Archegos.

It also had to freeze $10 billion worth of supply chain finance funds linked to insolvent British financier Greensill.

At the end of October, Credit Suisse said it planned to cut thousands of jobs and shift its focus away from investment banking and towards less turbulent wealth management. ($1 = 0.9415 Swiss francs) (Editing by John O'Donnell and Barbara Lewis)