Taste for leverage 'unaffected by bank collapse'

7 April 2008

Leveraged buyout numbers will not be affected by the credit crunch in the long term, a top financier has claimed.

David Viniar, chief financial officer at Goldman Sachs, also claimed that his employer had "no need" to reduce its dependence on debt - despite the ongoing loss of liquidity in the money markets.

Goldman's assets-to-equity ratio has climbed from 17.5 in November 2007 to hit 18.6 in February, Bloomberg reports.

This is in marked contrast to other US banks, which are reducing their leverage.

For example, Morgan Stanley has cut its ratio from 16.1 to 15.4 - and Lehman Brothers' has gone from 15.4 to just 13.5 as of last week.

Speaking to analysts in a conference call, Mr Viniar said: "We have no need as we sit here right now to shrink our balance sheet.''

He also said that he "[didn't] think" that the current deleveraging trend on Wall Street would prove permanent.

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