OCTOBER 24, 2002
Why asbestos could hurt Sauber...
There seems to be little connection between asbestos and Formula 1, the current state of the sport and the need for large amounts of money has created some unusual problems for team bosses to worry about. All the teams, except those supported by automobile manufacturers are worried at the moment because of the recession and cutbacks in advertising and sponsorship but some F1 sponsors find themselves under pressure through no fault of their own.
Credit Suisse, a major backer of Sauber, is facing just such a situation because of problems which have been encountered by the giant engineering group Asea Brown Boveri. ABB's business is largely power generation, transmission and distribution, industrial and building systems and rail transportation. The company has run into trouble because of legal action being taken in the United States against its subsidiary Combustion Engineering relating to the use of lethal asbestos in construction projects and the extent of damages being awarded could push the whole of ABB into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This would be a major disaster for a number of Swiss banks but rumours in Zurich indicate that Credit Suisse may be facing the worst losses if ABB does fail. And that ccould impact on Credit Suisse's spending plans, which include Sauber.
At the moment the stories are only rumours but with the stock markets of the world already shaky this has had an effect on Credit Suisse's market value, which fell eight percent in a day. There are also worries about Credit Suisse's financial results which are not expected to be good when they are published on November 14. The company has already warned that it is expecting a loss because of problems with its insurance offshoot Wintherthur.
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