Citigroup Chair Says Bank’s Crisis is Over

At the financial firm’s annual shareholder meeting, Citigroup chairman Richard D. Parsons says that even though there will be challenges this year, the investment bank is “clearly through the crisis.” Parsons statement reflects a significant shift for Citibank from last April when the financial firm made its first profit since the 2007 financial collapse and the government was still in possession of a large ownership stake. Citigroup, which received three government bailouts, has since paid back the Treasury Department and reported profits for five quarters in a row. Most recently, the investment bank has just reported a $3 billion profit.

The New York Times says that unlike in recent years when Citigroup shareholders that attended the annual meeting would complain about board members or former US Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, this year, the shareholders that did show up primarily complained that Citi’s stock price would have to hit almost $600 for them to break even on shares.

The bank’s shares, which used to trade at over $50 each, now trade at under $5 dollars. After the reverse share split, share prices will rise to approximately $45. Each investor’s total, however, will go down by 90%.

Over 95% of shareholders had approved the stock split. At the meeting, Citi’s chief executive Vikram S. Pandit explained that while the share count was changing the value of ownership position was not. He also spoke of the benefits of drawing in institutional investors who couldn’t buy shares of companies that had stock that traded under $10. Pandit said there was potential for short-sellers to beat down the stock.

Related Web Resources:
Citi’s Annual Meeting Ceases to Be a Battleground, New York Times, April 21, 2011
Citi CEO tries to shed bank’s “survivor” image, Reuters, April 21, 2011

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