Tuesday, 30 October 2007

UBS writedown bigger than expected

From Bloomberg:

UBS Reports SF830 Million Loss on Debt Writedowns

UBS AG, Europe's largest bank by assets, reported its first quarterly loss in almost five years after declines in the U.S. subprime mortgage market led to $4.4 billion in losses and writedowns on fixed-income securities.

The third-quarter net loss was 830 million Swiss francs ($712 million), or 49 centimes a share, compared with net income of 2.2 billion francs, or 1.07 francs, a year earlier, Zurich- based UBS said in a statement today. The loss exceeded the 683 million-franc estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The slumping U.S. housing market, which cost the world's biggest securities firms and banks more than $30 billion in bad loans and trading losses in the quarter, may lead to further writedowns, UBS reiterated today....

UBS said that while the fourth quarter "started with good results from all business," the bank can't assume it "will continue as positively as it began, or that the current difficulties will be resolved in the short term."

Debt market writedowns, which cost Chief Financial Officer Clive Standish and investment-banking head Huw Jenkins their jobs this month, will probably lead to another unprofitable quarter at the securities unit in the current three-month period, Rohner said today. The division earned 1.36 billion francs in the final three months of 2006.

The comments in bold are further evidence that this is not a one quarter event for UBS. Expect more such announcements as we get further into the 4th quarter.