Moody’s hails Nomura’s $1bn European cuts

Tim Wallace
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CUTTING European jobs and trimming down the equities business should help Japanese bank Nomura back on the path to stable profits in the long run, credit ratings agency Moody’s said yesterday.

Last week the bank announced the plans, which will see it cut back on equities and investment banking as part of a $1bn (£625m) savings programme being implemented over the next two years.

The focus on removing unprofitable parts of the bank represents “a credit-positive first step that attempts to address the build up in Nomura’s cost base that resulted from its badly timed acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ businesses in Europe and Asia in 2008,” said Moody’s.

However, the agency did warn the bank still faced tough challenges, not least because this is the second $1bn cost cutting programme in two years.

The bank wants to hit a pre-tax profit of ¥250bn (£2bn) in 2015-16, up from ¥85bn in 2011-12, both by cutting back on poorly performing units and boosting profits in wholesale banking and the Japanese retail business.

“Given the weak environment for global capital markets and also the low growth in the Japanese retail market, we think these targets will be difficult to achieve,” warned Moody’s.

However it did add “Nomura is less likely than global competitors to increase risks in order to meet difficult profit targets because it faces less shareholder pressure than competitors to meet its targets.”