The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) is now the biggest shareholder in UBS, after the Swiss government sold its 9 per cent stake in the bank, people familiar with the lender said.
The sale yesterday drew lively bids, traders said, with a price range seen above the stock’s closing price in the previous session.
GIC said yesterday it did not buy any shares in UBS from the Swiss government, but that it remained confident about the bank’s future.
“GIC did not participate in the placement of UBS shares. As a large investor in UBS, we maintain our confidence in the long-term prospect,” a GIC spokesman said in a statement.
GIC bought 11 billion Swiss francs (RM36.47 billion) of UBS mandatory convertible notes in December 2007.
The Swiss government had initially set a price range of 16 to 16.50 Swiss francs per share, but traders indicated a range at 17 to 17.25 francs, saying the books were three to five times oversubscribed.
That could net the government up to 5.7 billion Swiss francs, just below its original investment of 6 billion francs in mandatory convertible notes.
UBS will pay the government 1.8 billion francs to compensate for lost interest it would otherwise have had to pay, leaving Berne in the black on the deal.
The Swiss National Bank said the government sale indicated the market was more confident in UBS, while Switzerland’s financial regulator Finma said it supported the sale as the bank now had a stable, sound capital base.
UBS shares were up 0.6 per cent at 16.84 francs at 4pm Singapore time, having closed at 16.74 francs two days ago, while the DJ Stoxx bank sector index was up 1.44 per cent.
Switzerland said late two days ago that it would sell the stake, saying a capital raising in June and the settling of a tax dispute with the United States had increased confidence in the bank.
The news came just hours after Switzerland agreed to reveal details of about 4,450 wealthy American clients of UBS to the US authorities in a tax dispute settlement that breaks the seal on Swiss banking secrecy.
Other Swiss banks, such as Credit Suisse, Julius Baer, Zuercher Kantonalbank and Union Bancaire Privee, are now fretting that the US taxman’s spotlight could fall on them, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Singapore GIC did not buy Swiss govt’s UBS shares
Singapore’s largest sovereign wealth fund GIC said on Thursday it did not buy any shares in UBS from the Swiss government, but said it remained confident about the bank’s future.
‘GIC did not participate in the placement of UBS shares. As a large investor in UBS, we maintain our confidence in the long-term prospect,’ a spokeswoman for the Government of Singapore Investment Corp said in a statement.
The Swiss government’s sale of a 9 percent stake in UBS drew lively bids, traders said on Thursday, with a price range seen above the stock’s closing price in the previous session.
The Swiss government’s divestment of its stake in UBS leaves GIC, which bought 11 billion Swiss francs of UBS mandatory convertible notes in December 2007, as the bank’s largest shareholder, people familiar with the Swiss lender said.