Deutsche Bank returned to full-year profit in 2018 for the first time in four years but fourth quarter losses further spooked investors, sending shares down.
Germany’s biggest lender reported annual profit of €341m (£299m), an improvement on the €735m losses of 2017 but well below average analyst forecasts of €422m.
In the fourth quarter, the bank made a loss of €319m, while fixed income revenues fell 23 per cent to €786 in “challenging market conditions.”
Shares in the bank, which had fallen sharply yesterday on reports of a potential merger with rival Commerzbank, fell 2.4 per cent in early trading.
Chief executive Christian Sewing dismissed talk of the merger, reportedly being brokered by the German government as a last resort if the bank fails in its restructuring.
Sewing said the focus was on growth.
He said: “We don’t really think about the other things, we don’t have time for that, we know where we are heading.”
But according to reports the bank’s performance over the next few months will be closely monitored with the possibility of the merger looming in the background.
The fourth quarter and annual results failed to inspire confidence among investors as shares continued their decline today.
But the bank’s bosses said it was on course to keep cutting cost and improve performance.
Sewing said: “Our return to profitability shows that Deutsche Bank is on the right track. Now, our priority is to take the next step.
“In 2019 we aim not only to save costs but also to make focused investments in growth. We aim to grow profitability through the current year and beyond.”
The company’s shares lost more than half of their value in 2018 in a torrid year for Germany’s biggest bank.
They plunged to record lows of 6.68p in December after two days of police raids at its headquarters, linked to the so-called Panama Papers revelations over offshore financing.