Thursday 13 February 2020 12:34 pm

Commerzbank to continue cost-cutting after quarterly loss

Commerzbank said today it was looking to make further cuts to costs after reporting a smaller-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter. 

The German lender, which is in the process of restructuring following a failed attempt to merge with Deutsche Bank, posted a €54m (£45m) quarterly loss. 

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Chief executive Martin Zielke said he was growing optimistic about the bank’s prospects despite the loss, which compared to a net profit of €113m a year earlier, but was not as bad as analysts’ forecasts of €99m.

The state-backed bank posted a net profit of €644m for the entire year, down from €862m in 2018. Annual revenues rose from €8.57bn to €8.64bn. 

Commerzbank said it would announce further measures to trim its expenses in the coming days. 

“We have already made tangible progress with our strategy,” Zielke said the lender’s overhaul, which includes staff cuts, absorbing its Comdirect online brokerage and closing branches.

Commerzbank also confirmed today that the sale of its Polish arm Mbank had begun. Some prospective bidders have been shying away from bidding on the division, Reuetrs reported, amid concerns over possible interference from the Polish government.

A scarcity of bids for Mbank has also raised concerns about the price Commerzbank will be able to fetch. 

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Bettina Orlopp, Commerzbank’s new finance chief, told analysts that the bank was sticking to its plans to sell its Polish arm but would only do so at the right price.

Commerzbank shares rose as much as 5.87 per cent following the results.