Credit Suisse winds down $10bn in funds as Greensill bank prepares for insolvency

Credit Suisse is winding down specialist funds worth $10bn (£7.2bn) that were mostly invested in loans linked to Greensill, the crisis-hit supply chain bank.

Greensill, which employs 1,000 staff in London and has the former prime minister David Cameron as an adviser, is preparing to file for insolvency and is in talks to sell parts of its business to the US private equity firm Apollo Global Management, after it lost the of backing of Credit Suisse and its fellow Swiss investment house GAM.

Both Greensill and Apollo declined to comment.

“The fund boards have now decided to terminate the funds. Credit Suisse Asset Management’s priority is to ensure a balance between a timely liquidation of the funds and maximising value for the investors,” the Swiss bank said on Friday.

ICredit Suisse said it was closing the funds because of valuation uncertainties, reduced availability of insurance coverage for new investments, and challenges in sourcing suitable investments.

Greensill provides supply chain finance, lending businesses money to pay their suppliers in return for a fee. It secured funding by passing on the load to investors, through funds such as the ones Credit Suisse is closing. The Swiss bank is thought to have about 1,000 clients with cash invested in Greensill-linked funds.

Greensill’s problems came to a head on Monday during a court battle in New South Wales, Australia, where its head office is located. The bank, founded by the Australian financier Lex Greensill, was hoping to prevent an insurance company from withdrawing protection. Losing the case triggered a series of moves by Credit Suisse to reduce the exposure of its clients.

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On Monday, Credit Suisse suspended redemptions from the funds because of concerns about being able accurately to value them, and on Wednesday said it was hoping to return excess cash to shareholders.

Credit Suisse said the funds had experienced “reduced availability of insurance coverage for new investments”, but declined to say whether existing investments were protected.

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How much money investors in the funds being closed can recoup may depend on the insurance coverage for the investments.

The funds provide credit backed by blue chip companies – but also highly leveraged companies not rated by big credit agencies, including GFG Alliance, owned by Sanjeev Gupta. The British businessman owns much of the UK steel production industry where he employs about 5,000 people, with unions raising concerns that jobs will be at risk if Greensill’s problems affect GFG financing.

GFG said the company had “adequate funds” and that plans to bring in fresh capital through refinancing were “progressing well”. It said: “We are benefiting from a recovery in steel and aluminium markets, which means that most of our businesses are running at near full capacity to meet high demand and are generating positive cash flows.”



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