Commerzbank moves to end its reliance on state support

COMMERZBANK will move quickly to end its use of state support, chief executive Martin Blessing said yesterday at a bankers&rsquo; conference in Frankfurt.<br /><br />He said the bank would stop issuing bonds backed by state guarantees and added that the lender would move to pay back Berlin&rsquo;s 25 per cent equity stake by 2012 at the latest.<br /><br />The bank has a facility to issue up to &euro;15bn (&pound;13bn) worth of state-backed bonds but will only use &euro;5bn of the total, returning the rest. It has taken about &euro;18.2bn in state aid as well as the bond guarantee.<br /><br />Blessing added that Commerzbank was working on bonus system for top earners that would link pay to long-term performance and could include clawbacks.<br /><br />Separately, Commerzbank confirmed yesterday that it is selling its remaining five per cent stake in German engineering firm GEA.<br /><br />The bank said it had successfully placed its 9.2m shares in GEA, worth &euro;115.9m, or &euro;12.6 per share, a discount to GEA&rsquo;s Tuesday closing price of 1.4 per cent.<br /><br />UBS Investment Bank and Commerzbank acted as joint bookrunners on the placing.