Monday, October 29, 2007

UBS warns that further write-downs are possible

UBS said Monday that the slumping U.S. housing market may lead to further write-downs on debt securities following the company's first quarterly loss in almost five years.

UBS, the largest bank by assets in Europe, is at risk from "further deterioration in the U.S. housing and mortgage markets as well as rating downgrades" on mortgage-related securities, the bank, based in Zurich, said in a statement. UBS reiterated that its third-quarter loss was between 600 million francs, or $516 million, and 800 million francs.

Banks around the world have taken big write-downs on exposures to investments linked to risky U.S. subprime mortgages, loans often made to people with patchy credit histories.

The UBS statement was highly unusual, coming only one day before the formal announcement of its third-quarter results.

Reacting to a weekend newspaper report saying that more hefty write-downs could lead to a much-bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, UBS also said that it had begun the fourth quarter well in all business areas, including its investment bank.

No comments: