Business World

Sunday 24 September 2017

Deutsche Bank shares fall after €8bn cash call

Deutsche Bank’s headquarters on London Wall in the City
Deutsche Bank’s headquarters on London Wall in the City

Gernot Heller

Deutsche Bank's request for shareholders to sign an €8bn cheque to back its new strategy got a lukewarm reception on Monday from investors who want more detail on its plans.

Germany's biggest bank had previously said it would wait until global bank capital rules were finalised before setting out how it intends to turn its business around and chief executive John Cryan had said a cash call was a last resort.

But with regulators delaying the Basel III rules and stock indices at record highs, Deutsche opted on Sunday to push ahead with a capital hike while market conditions are favourable as well as announcing plans to float part of its asset management unit and reorganise its divisions.

While the German government welcomed the move, the fourth such call from the lender for more cash since 2010, it left some investors wondering whether this was the last.

It puts Deutsche Bank on course to have raised more than its entire €26bn market value in the past seven years, according to Reuters' calculations.

Deutsche Bank shares, which had fallen by more than 1pc last Friday on reports it was considering raising fresh capital, fell a further 6pc yesterday.

The bank presented the move as an attempt to put it on a stronger footing, after billions of euro of legal penalties had prompted speculation that it would need a German state bailout.

A finance ministry spokesman said that while it generally did not comment on specific banks, stable lenders underpinned by strong capital were in Germany's best interests.

"This company won't be profitable overnight. The revenue must go up and costs down. And the markets have to play along, or else the bank again won't be able to hit its goals," said one of the bank's top shareholders, asking not to be named.

Deutsche Bank is planning to IPO a minority stake in its asset management business, including its DWS retail asset management, which analysts have said is worth €8bn.

In an about-face to its retail banking strategy, the bank scrapped plans to sell Postbank, after failing to sell it at an acceptable price. Instead, it now wants to reintegrate it into its other German retail banking business.

Deutsche Bank's investment banking activities will also revert to a structure it threw out less than two years ago by reuniting its securities trading activities and its corporate finance business. It is also promoting retail head Christian Sewing and finance head Markus Schenck to deputy chief executives who will oversee the revamp alongside Mr Cryan.

The combined moves should take Deutsche Bank's core capital ratio - a key measure for regulators - above 13pc from 11.9pc at end-2016, but some questioned if this was it.

"The question is ... whether the bank will need more yet again in a few years. Until now, none of the restructuring measures have borne fruit," Stefan de Schutter, a trader at Frankfurt-based Alpha, said. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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