Singapore sovereign fund stands by UBS

SINGAPORE, April 2, 2008 (AFP) – The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) on Wednesday stood by its decision to invest in troubled Swiss bank UBS and did not rule out a further capital injection. UBS on Tuesday revealed an additional 19 billion US dollars in writedowns, making it the bank worst-hit by a global crisis that originated in the United States subprime, or higher-risk, mortgage sector.

The latest writedowns came on top of 18.4 billion dollars the bank wrote down in 2007, and which led it to seek an infusion of 11 billion Swiss francs (11.13 billion US dollars) from GIC.

Another two billion Swiss francs was to come from an unnamed Middle East investor.

“Given the amount of ‘at risk’ assets and further deterioration of the market, it is realistic of UBS to take the writedowns,” GIC said in reply to questions from AFP.

“We recognise that there is impairment in the short-term to our investment in UBS. However, GIC is a long-term investor and we maintain a positive longer-term outlook on the investment.”

UBS announced it is seeking to raise another 15 billion Swiss francs through a rights issue, and formed a new unit to hold currently illiquid US real estate assets.