Credit Suisse Group (CS - Get Report) shares surged to the highest in nearly two years Thursday after the bank said it was prepared to meet with activist investors RBR Capital amid speculation it could split into three groups focused on private wealth management, asset management and investment banking.
The Zurich-based lender, Switzerland's second-largest, also said net profit for the three months ending in September came in at Sfr244 million ($245 million), short of the Street consensus of Sfr264 million but ahead of the bank's own estimate of Sfr185 million. New money into its wealth management until also increased to Sfr10.4 billion, the company said, an 8% increase from the same period last year that took total assets under management to a record Sfr751 billion.
Thiam's focus on the lender's investment banking unit in his overhaul of the group's total operations, however, has yet to bear fruit: net income of Sfr71 million for the quarter fell shy of analysts' estimates and could further call for the division to be split from more profitable, and less volatile, businesses such as wealth management.
"While the outlook for global economic growth has continued to improve, uncertain geopolitical developments, central bank policies and the magnitude and timing of reforms in the U.S., as well as historically low levels of volatility, have impacted client activity levels, which remained muted," said CEO Tidjane Thiam said in a statement.
He also told CNBC Europe television that he planned to meet with Rudolf Bohli, who manages RBR Capital Advisors, next week.
Credit Suisse surged last week after Swiss-based activist investor confirmed it had taken a stake in the investment bank and is speaking to management about potential changes to its structure and strategy.
"As with all our shareholdings, we are in direct contact with the Executive Board and the Board of Directors," RBR told TheStreet. "We have discussed various strategic alternatives for successful further development with the company. RBR will shortly be explaining its views to the capital market and the public in detail."
Credit Suisse shares rose 3.6% in the opening hours of Zurich trading and were changing hands at Sfr16.21 each, the highest since January 2016, and extending their three month advance to around 9% compared to a 0.6% loss for domestic rival UBS AG UBS.
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