JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) - Get Report said Friday that its equities trading business booked a $143 million loss linked to a single client, which could be the scandal-plagued South African retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV.
America's biggest bank posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings of $1.76 a share but noted in its presentation that equity market revenue was essentially flat at $1.1 billion and that the division took a hit of $143 million "on a margin loan to a single client."
Bloomberg News reported that the loss can be linked to Steinhoff, which unveiled accounting issues in early December that ultimate led to the ouster of CEO Markus Jooste, Chairman Christo Wiese and, late Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Ben la Grange.
Reuters reported on Dec. 6 that Wiese has borrowed €1.6 billion ($1.94 billion) to buy Steinhoff shares, through a family trust, in September 2016, when they traded at around €5 each. The stock plunged to €0.55 each after the accounting issues were made public in early December and were marked at €0.42 each in Frankfurt Friday.
Steinhoff, which owns Sleepy's in the United States, said la Grange will be replaced by Philip Dieperink as acting CFO pending formal appointment to the management board. He will also remain in his existing position as the CFO of Steinhoff U.K.
JPMorgan shares slipped 0.13% in premarket trading Friday, indicating an opening bell price of $110.70, a move that would trim their three-month gain to around 15% compared to an 11.81% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
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