By Helene Durand
LONDON, Feb 29 (IFR) - Credit Suisse announced plans to roadshow a new Buffer Capital Note (BCN) transaction denominated in Swiss francs on Wednesday. The Swiss bank will visit investors on March 5 and 6 ahead of a likely deal shortly thereafter.
Credit Suisse launched a ground-breaking USD2bn Reg S Tier 2 Buffer Capital Note issue in February 2011 that attracted USD22bn of demand from investors. The high-trigger notes convert into equity if the bank's Core Tier 1 ratio falls below 7% or if the bank is declared non-viable.
There are no details yet on what structure Credit Suisse will adopt or whether the CoCo deal will be used for the high trigger capital buffer or low trigger one under the Swiss regulatory regime.
Also there are no details yet on whether it will opt for BCNs that convert into equity or notes that write down permanently.
Credit Suisse's group Treasurer Rolf Enderli told IFR in June last year that the bank was eyeing a possible CoCo issue in the US market.
"For us, it's very important to develop the product internationally," he said at the time. "We have completed a non-US transaction and we recently filed a shelf registration statement that would allow us to issue BCNs on an SEC-registered basis in the US."
The bank also said at the time that any deal would probably be a low-trigger CoCo.
UBS priced a USD2bn Tier 2 low-trigger loss-absorbing issue two weeks ago that attracted USD5.5bn of demand, mainly from private banks. The bonds write-down to zero permanently if the bank's Core Tier 1 ratio falls below 5% or if the bank is declared non-viable.
The Swiss franc market has been a popular hunting ground for issuers looking to raise new style hybrid capital. At the end of January, Zuercher Kantonalbank priced a CHF590m Basel 3/FINMA compliant hybrid Tier 1 issue.
The perpetual non-call 5.5 year transaction via UBS and ZKB was the first publicly placed deal of its kind. Under the so-called Swiss finish, the country's biggest financial institutions, Credit Suisse and UBS, will be required to hold 19% of capital by 2019, well above the global regulatory minimum.
For smaller banks, which are divided into five categories, the minimum capital ratio varies between 14.4% and 10.5%. ZKB falls into category 2 and will required to maintain a capital ratio of between 13.6% and 14.4% by December 31 2016.
Meanwhile, Swiss Re sold CHF320m of Upper Additional Capital Notes in February. The groundbreaking perpetual non-call 5.5 year was led by BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and UBS and was mainly sold to retail investors.