Credit Suisse’s riskiest bonds rise after UBS deal to buy troubled lender

Ulrich Koerner, CEO of Credit Suisse Group.
Ulrich Koerner, CEO of Credit Suisse Group. Bondholders could suffer punitive losses on some of Credit Suisse’s riskiest bonds.
Hollie Adams—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Credit Suisse Group AG’s riskiest bonds rose sharply as traders bet that UBS Group AG’s deal to buy the troubled lender would spare holders significant losses. 

Additional Tier 1 notes were quoted between 50 and 70 cents on the dollar in the wake of the deal announcement, up from the mid 20s to high-40s earlier in the day, according to people with knowledge of the matter, asking not to be named because price quotes in the over-the-counter market are private. 

Earlier in the day, pricing fluctuated as traders weighed two contrasting scenarios: either the regulator would nationalize part or the whole bank, possibly writing off Credit Suisse’s AT1 bonds entirely, or a UBS buyout with potentially no losses for bondholders.

The securities, introduced after the global financial crisis, are designed to help banks bolster capital to meet regulations designed to prevent failure. They can be written off if a bank’s capital levels fall below a specified level. In Credit Suisse’s case its common equity tier 1 would need to fall below 7% of its risk-weighted assets.

Several banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Jefferies Financial Group have kept their bond sales and trading desks open through the weekend for Credit Suisse bonds, a rare occurrence except in times of stress.

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