Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) Q4 Earnings: Profits Fall 24 Percent

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Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) announced, Thursday, that its net profit for the full-year 2012 fell 24 percent to 1.4 billion Swiss francs ($1.5 billion), despite a better-than-expected performance of the investment banking unit. Shares of the second largest Swiss bank plunged 1.08 percent in early trading after the earnings missed analysts’ estimates. Analysts were expecting 1.7 billion francs in annual profits.

Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) Q4 Earnings: Profits Fall 24 Percent

For the fourth quarter of 2012, the bank posted 397 million francs in profits, and 5.8 billion francs in revenues. The company had incurred losses of 637 million francs in the same period a year ago. Credit Suisse is undergoing a massive restructuring. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Brady Dougan, has raised cost-saving targets by 400 million Swiss francs ($441 million) to $4.4 billion francs by the end of 2015.

In 2012, the bank lowered costs by 2 billion francs, saying that it eliminated 1,000 jobs during the fourth quarter. Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) now has 47,400 employees. The Zurich-based bank also reduced its total pay expenses by 5 percent, but didn’t provide any details on where the cuts were made.

The company’s capital ratio also strengthened in the fourth quarter to 9.4 percent. The bank expects to touch the 10 percent Swiss standards in the middle of this year, five years ahead of the schedule. “We took significant steps to adapt our businesses and our organisation to new regulatory requirements, changing client demands and the current market environment,” Brady Dougan said in a statement.

Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) board has decided to keep annual dividends unchanged at 0.75 Swiss francs per share for 2012. The bank would pay 0.10 francs in cash and 0.65 francs in stock to help it build up capital ratios.

The earnings received mixed reviews from analysts. In a research report, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said the asset management and investment banking units beat its forecasts, but its wealth management business was disappointing. The wealth management figures were below estimates because gross margin remained flat in the  third quarter at 109 basis points, whereas analysts were expecting at least 2-3 bps upside from performance fees. Analysts said the guidance for additional cost savings of about $441 million should encourage the markets.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) remains a quality investment despite the recent negative EPS momentum. BAML holds a Buy rating on the stock with $31.10 price target.

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