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HELP FOR SWISS BANK: GIC ‘prepared to adjust terms of UBS deal’

THE Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) is prepared to adjust the terms of its deal to buy 9 per cent of UBS to help the Swiss bank win shareholder approval, GIC deputy chairman Tony Tan was quoted as saying yesterday.

UBS, Europe’s hardest-hit bank from the credit crisis, received a lifeline of 13 billion Swiss francs (S$17.1 billion) from GIC and an undisclosed Middle East investor in December to shore up capital hurt by hefty United States sub-prime housing losses.

Under the deal, UBS will pay GIC – which will invest 11 billion Swiss francs – and the Middle East investor a coupon of 9 per cent on securities that can be converted into shares within approximately two years of the issue of the notes.

However, the terms of the deal have drawn ire from some smaller shareholders who said it is unfair that they cannot participate in the mandatory convertible bond, with some calling for a rejection of the deal.

‘We would be prepared to adjust the terms,’ Dr Tan said, according to the transcript of his interview with the Financial Times in Davos.

‘We would be prepared to see how we could help them. But we have signed an agreement with them so that has to be honoured.’ UBS has scheduled an extraordinary general meeting for Feb 27, when it will seek approval for the investment.


Source: REUTERS (The Straits Times 5 Feb 08)


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