Swiss gov’t cleans up on UBS sale

Stephen Beard Aug 21, 2009
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Swiss gov’t cleans up on UBS sale

Stephen Beard Aug 21, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: The Swiss government has sold its stake in the banking giant UBS. It’s the first government to sell bank shares it bought during last year’s series of bailouts. The Swiss have made a profit on the deal. From the European Desk in London, Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: The Swiss government bought 9 percent of UBS at the height of the financial crisis last year. It’s just sold that stake making a net profit of more than a billion dollars. Not bad considering UBS is one of the European banks hardest hit by the credit crunch.

And the bank has also been embroiled in a costly fight with the U.S. over tax evasion. That dispute was settled this week. UBS agreed to hand over the names of more than 4,000 American account holders. Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank says that helped the Swiss government unload its UBS stock.

ANDREW HILTON: I think that gives the share price a bounce. There’s no doubt that UBS looks a better bet having resolved this problem with the U.S. as indeed do the other Swiss banks as well.

Bank analysts say the Swiss sale suggests that when the U.S. government comes to sell its shares in Citigroup, American taxpayers could make a profit too.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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