ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse <CSGN.S> is aiming for an annual profit of 5 to 6 billion Swiss francs for the next two years as the bank puts its problems behind it, Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag in an interview to be published on Sunday.
“For the future our goal is business as usual,” Thiam said in the interview. “We have worked night and day over the last three years to eliminate the problems from the past.
“For the next two years a profit of between 5 and 6 billion francs is realistic.”
For 2018, Thiam said he expected the bank’s profits to be “a little lower” as it is still dealing with high financing costs.
“That’s due to our capital raising during the financial crisis,” he said. “We have recently announced that we will buy back these expensive bonds in October 2018.
“That will contribute 700 million francs to our profit in 2019. The elimination of these inherited problems will also lead to losses in the current business year of around 1.4 billion francs.
“In the next year this will be reduced…which will have a positive effect on our profits.”
Despite the recent reduction of 1,600 jobs, Switzerland remained important for the bank, Thiam said.
“It’s like in football, if you cannot win at home, you cannot win away,” he said. “Switzerland as a safe haven is still attractive for foreign assets.
“Particularly when risks across the world increase, customers are looking for security.”
The CEO, who took over in 2015, also appeared to increase his commitment to Credit Suisse after recent comments where he ruled out a political career in his native Ivory Coast.
“Switzerland is now my home, it’s a great country, and I feel good here. I have given up my home in London,” Thiam said.
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Toby Chopra)