Commerzbank plans billions in profit - economy


Despite an impending economic downturn, Commerzbank believes in billions in profits in 2022 and can continue to rely on the state as a strong anchor shareholder. "The federal government is very satisfied with the development of Commerzbank," said Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) at a bank conference. "We have no legal or other obligation to make quick decisions about Commerzbank, but we want this bank to develop well in the German financial center because we know its important role."

In 2008/2009, the state had saved the major Frankfurt bank, which had swallowed up the troubled Dresdner Bank in the middle of the financial crisis, from collapsing with more than 18 billion euros in tax money. Commerzbank repaid the state aid years ago, but the federal government is still the largest single shareholder in the institute with a stake of 15.6 percent. There is always speculation about the sale of this stake. According to the previous federal government, the federal government would have to achieve around 26 euros per share in order to end the Commerzbank commitment without a loss. Most recently, the share price was around 7 euros.

The CEO Manfred Knof, who took office as a reorganizer at the beginning of 2021, tightened the austerity course and led Commerzbank back into the profit zone. In the first half of 2022, the MDax group earned 768 million euros despite the economic upheaval caused by the Ukraine war. For the year as a whole, the Executive Board is aiming for a surplus of more than one billion euros. The prerequisite, however, is that the economy does not deteriorate further, it said at the beginning of August. "We've already covered a large part of the distance, so I'm still cautiously optimistic," said Knof at the Handelsblatt-Banking conference in Frankfurt. "We continue to assume that if this does not lead to a full-scale catastrophe and emergency braking, we can of course achieve our goals," said the Commerzbank boss.

Knof, whose institute is heavily involved in financing small and medium-sized enterprises, does not currently fear a wave of bankruptcies: "I have great confidence in the resilience of the German economy, including the companies." From conversations with customers, he perceives "that they are of course concerned and that difficult times are coming. But there is no reason for panic at all". In addition, support the traffic light coalition with aid packages. The Federal Minister of Finance, who was connected via video, campaigned for the crisis to be shaped: "Our country has reserves, the ability to adapt, resourcefulness and also the willingness to face challenges together in crises," said Lindner. Many economists expect that the German economy will slide into a recession.



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