Last week the Prime Minister of Qatar told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo that the Qatar Investment Authority was "doing something" with one of the Swiss banks, prompting many conclude that the rumors of a large capital injection were true. But the Prime Minister insisted that he wasn't taking a passive "capital injecting" role but had been out in the market buying stocks.
So which Swiss bank was the QIA "doing something" with and what were they doing? That coy little primte minister wasn't saying last week but this morning the Sunday Telegraph reports that the QIA is considering buying as much as a 5% stake in Credit Suisse. The rules of the Swiss stock exchange require disclosure if an investment his 3 per cent of the company, and so far no disclosure has been forthcoming.
The Telegraph puts this in context:
Sovereign wealth funds from Abu Dhabi, China, Dubai and Singapore have snapped up large stakes in banks such as Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS as they wilted under the weight of huge losses related to the implosion of the American sub-prime mortgage industry.
Any investment in Credit Suisse by the QIA or another sovereign investor would, however, be seen differently. Other than a $1.9bn writedown related to the sub-prime crisis announced in November, the bank has so far emerged comparatively unscathed from the credit crunch and has avoided the need to seek recourse to cash-rich foreign governments in order to recapitalise its balance sheet.
Qataris poised to snap up $3bn stake in Credit Suisse [Sunday Telegraph]