Tuesday 16 June 2020 12:07 pm

Activist investor Cerberus vows to continue push for change at Commerzbank

Activist investor Cerberus has said it will use “alternative paths” to push for change at Commerzbank if the lender continues to resist calls to reform. 

Cerberus did not outline what paths it might take in a letter sent to the chair of Commerzbank’s supervisory board dated yesterday and seen by Reuters. 

Read more: Commerzbank set to cut more jobs and branches, says board member

One possibility is for the investor to invoke an extraordinary general meeting and ask other shareholders to back its demand for “substantial change” in leadership at Germany’s second-largest bank.

The letter was sent after the bank last week rebuffed Cerberus’ demands for two seats on its supervisory board. 

Launching its campaign last week, the activist investor also called on the lender to cut costs and adopt a new strategy, complaining that it had failed to heed its advice after more than 70 meetings. 

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Shares in Commerzbank have fallen about 60 per cent since Cerberus bought a five per stake in the lender in 2017.

“We stay committed to achieving substantial change to the leadership of Commerzbank and to the bank’s operational and strategic paths for the benefit of all of Commerzbank’s stakeholders,” Cerberus said in the letter.

Commerzbank, which last year announced plans to cut thousands of jobs, is currently in the process of identifying more cost cuts and will announce plans when it releases second quarter earnings in August.

Read more: Commerzbank to continue cost-cutting after quarterly loss

Cerberus said the supervisory board bore responsibility for the bank’s “dire situation” in the letter, Reuters reported.

“Unfortunately, it is a matter of fact that Commerzbank has not yet embraced or executed on any of our suggested actions,” the investor wrote.

A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment. 

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