Sunday, November 04, 2007

Citi: additional $8 billion to $11 billion in writedowns

by Bill McBride on 11/04/2007 07:47:00 PM

From WSJ: Charles Prince Resigns As Citi CEO, Chairman

Meanwhile, Citigroup is poised to report billions of dollars in additional writedowns on mortgage-related securities, according to people familiar with the matter. Estimates of the writedowns ranged from $8 billion to $11 billion. That would far surpass the roughly $2.2 billion in mortgage-related writedowns and trading losses that Citigroup reported in its third-quarter earnings last month.
ADDED: Here is the press release: Citi's Sub-Prime Related Exposure in Securities and Banking
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C - News) announced today significant declines since September 30, 2007 in the fair value of the approximately $55 billion in U.S. sub-prime related direct exposures in its Securities and Banking (S&B) business. Citi estimates that, at the present time, the reduction in revenues attributable to these declines ranges from approximately $8 billion to $11 billion (representing a decline of approximately $5 billion to $7 billion in net income on an after-tax basis).

These declines in the fair value of Citi’s sub-prime related direct exposures followed a series of rating agency downgrades of sub-prime U.S. mortgage related assets and other market developments, which occurred after the end of the third quarter. The impact on Citi’s financial results for the fourth quarter from changes in the fair value of these exposures will depend on future market developments and could differ materially from the range above.

Citi also announced that, while significant uncertainty continues to prevail in financial markets, it expects, taking into account maintaining its current dividend level, that its capital ratios will return within the range of targeted levels by the end of the second quarter of 2008. Accordingly, Citi has no plans to reduce its current dividend level.

The $55 billion in U.S. sub-prime direct exposure in S&B as of September 30, 2007 consisted of (a) approximately $11.7 billion of sub-prime related exposures in its lending and structuring business, and (b) approximately $43 billion of exposures in the most senior tranches (super senior tranches) of collateralized debt obligations which are collateralized by asset-backed securities (ABS CDOs).

Lending and Structuring Exposures

Citi’s approximately $11.7 billion of sub-prime related exposures in the lending and structuring business as of September 30, 2007 compares to approximately $13 billion of sub-prime related exposures in the lending and structuring business at the end of the second quarter and approximately $24 billion at the beginning of the year.1 The $11.7 billion of sub-prime related exposures includes approximately $2.7 billion of CDO warehouse inventory and unsold tranches of ABS CDOs, approximately $4.2 billion of actively managed sub-prime loans purchased for resale or securitization at a discount to par primarily in the last six months, and approximately $4.8 billion of financing transactions with customers secured by sub-prime collateral.2 These amounts represent fair value determined based on observable transactions and other market data. Following the downgrades and market developments referred to above, the fair value of the CDO warehouse inventory and unsold tranches of ABS CDOs has declined significantly, while the declines in the fair value of the other sub-prime related exposures in the lending and structuring business have not been significant.

ABS CDO Super Senior Exposures

Citi’s $43 billion in ABS CDO super senior exposures as of September 30, 2007 is backed primarily by sub-prime RMBS collateral. These exposures include approximately $25 billion in commercial paper principally secured by super senior tranches of high grade ABS CDOs and approximately $18 billion of super senior tranches of ABS CDOs, consisting of approximately $10 billion of high grade ABS CDOs, approximately $8 billion of mezzanine ABS CDOs and approximately $0.2 billion of ABS CDO-squared transactions.

Although the principal collateral underlying these super senior tranches is U.S. sub-prime RMBS, as noted above, these exposures represent the most senior tranches of the capital structure of the ABS CDOs. These super senior tranches are not subject to valuation based on observable market transactions. Accordingly, fair value of these super senior exposures is based on estimates about, among other things, future housing prices to predict estimated cash flows, which are then discounted to a present value. The rating agency downgrades and market developments referred to above have led to changes in the appropriate discount rates applicable to these super senior tranches, which have resulted in significant declines in the estimates of the fair value of S&B super senior exposures.

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