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UBS reports new losses, chairman to step down

UBS reports new losses, chairman to step down
AFP
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First Published: Tue, Apr 01 2008. 12 28 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Apr 01 2008. 12 28 PM IST
Zurich: Embattled Swiss banking giant UBS said Tuesday it suffered new losses of about $19 billion and would end the quarter with a total loss of 12 billion Swiss francs.
The chairman of Switzerland’s largest bank, Marcel Ospel, will not stand for re-election later this month and be replaced by Peter Kurer, it said in a statement.
“I had wanted to be re-elected for a one-year mandate to pull UBS from its current difficult situation,” Ospel was quoted as saying in the statement.
“I’ve always said that I’m responsible in the last resort as far as the bank’s situation is concerned (...) I think I made all the necessary contributions.”
UBS had come under fresh pressure on the stock market Monday as it began to lower valuations of so-called auction-rate securities generally viewed as safe investment vehicles.
The bank’s share price has plummeted in recent months after it reported losses of $18 billion in 2007 in the US subprime crisis.
While the bank’s subprime investments have garnered most attention, and criticism from aggrieved shareholders, the focus is now shifting to auction-rate securities as rumours abound that further huge writedowns are looming.
Auction-rate securities are long-term bonds that could be sold at auctions every few weeks.
UBS plunged to its first-ever full-year net loss in 2007 after losing $18 billion in the subprime mortgage crisis.
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First Published: Tue, Apr 01 2008. 12 28 PM IST