ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse's <CSGN.VX> quarterly earnings beat analysts' expectations and the bank flagged a cash dividend for this year, as the restructuring of its investment banking division starts to bear fruit.
Switzerland's second-largest bank reported first-quarter net profit of 1.303 billion Swiss francs (905 million pounds), up from 44 million francs a year earlier. The result beat the average estimate of 1.255 billion francs in a Reuters poll Of analysts.
The profit rise was so sharp largely because Credit Suisse had booked a 1.5 billion franc charge on its own debt in the year-ago quarter.
But an accelerated round of cost cuts and a reduction in riskier assets helped keep net revenues stable at Credit Suisse's investment bank, unlike Wall Street's top five banks, which suffered weaker trading revenues.
Credit Suisse said the restructuring would help it pay investors a cash dividend after last year's largely stock payout.
"We are on track to exceed our look-through Swiss core capital ratio target of 10 percent during the middle of this year and have begun to accrue for cash dividends in respect of our 2013 earnings," Chief Executive Brady Dougan said in a statement.
Credit Suisse said its private bank, which targets clients with more than $1 million in bankable assets, won 12 billion francs in fresh money from clients. The bank suffered big outflows of money from clients in Europe, where Swiss banks are under fire for helping tax cheats, but hiked new assets nearly 10 percent in Asia.
The Zurich-based bank said it could not give investors any information on when Swiss government talks - to end a U.S. investigation into it and a host of other banks including Julius Baer <BAER.VX> in return for expected heavy fines and a transfer of client names - might conclude.
Last week, signs mounted that Swiss and U.S. diplomats were nearing a solution to end their dispute, part of a global crackdown on tax evasion by cash-strapped governments.
Credit Suisse took a 295 million franc provision towards a settlement with U.S. authorities in 2011.
(Reporting By Katharina Bart; Editing by Chris Gallagher)