Commerzbank could pay back more of bailout

COMMERZBANK has signalled it may pay back more state bailout money this year than originally planned, with sources close to the bank saying some details may be published as early as next week.

“This year, we are already looking to repay a sum running into the billions, while at the same time maintaining a healthy equity ratio,” chief executive Martin Blessing said in a letter to shareholders in the bank’s annual report yesterday.

Until now, Commerzbank had only said it wanted to repay “at least 10 per cent” – or €1.6bn (£1.41bn) – this year.

According to several people familiar with the bank, Commerzbank is also currently putting the finishing touches on a plan that will include a single capital increase of at least €5bn.

A capital increase in several steps could depress the share price for months as investors could fear dilution of their holdings in stages.