The setbacks of Deutsche Bank force the boss to explore the merger of Commerzbank



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Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing decided not to oppose a multibillion euro merger with German rival Commerzbank after the low interest rates persisted and Investor pressure on its gloomy performance forced it to consider other options.

"We still prefer Plan A and would like to do our homework and look at our strategic options later," said one familiar with the bank's internal discussions, adding that executives feared "some stakeholders" would have deliberately organized. the pressure to arm the direction twist by acting now.

Cerberus, the US private equity group that is one of the biggest investors in both Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, is actively lobbying for a rapprochement that the German Finance Ministry would like to see as a way to create a national champion of the banking sector.

Deutsche Bank Chairman Paul Achleitner is also in favor of a merger that would create the second largest bank in the euro zone with assets of nearly 1.9 billion euros.

The decision taken last week by the European Central Bank to further delay the prospect of a possible rise in interest rates has increased pressure on chronically unprofitable lenders in Germany, as negative interest rates reduce their credit margins essential.

Last fall, Sewing said that Deutsche Bank would spend the next 12 to 18 months putting its affairs in order before entering into any agreement.

"There are several options, a national merger with Commerzbank being one of them," said a person familiar with the internal deliberations of the bank.

The Deutsche Bank Board of Directors discussed the situation during the second half of February and gave Mr Sewing the formal mandate to informally explore a possible merger in discussions with Commerzbank. people familiar with the file.

The German newspaper Welt am Sonntag announced for the first time the resolution of the executive council.

The leaders of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have been discussing options for more than a year. A person familiar with the subject pointed out that "there has not been a new dynamic in recent days" and no meeting between Mr. Sewing and Commerzbank CEO Martin Zielke, has been reported. is scheduled for the next few days.

The supervisory board of Deutsche Bank has also addressed the issue without putting it officially on the agenda. "There is no decision of the supervisory board and no informal directive for the management," said a person close to a member of the supervisory board.

For now, talks with Commerzbank have been superficial, citizens said, adding that strict German securities laws would require banks to formally disclose concrete talks in a regulatory statement if they fall into public domain.

A person familiar with internal Deutsche Bank discussions said that one of the key issues was that a merger with Commerzbank was the only consolidation option in its domestic market, dominated by state-owned lenders. "We need to clearly assess the consequences of what a no means to us," said the person.

A European regulator said Deutsche Bank had not formally contacted its regulatory authorities or presented a possible merger plan, adding that the financial guards were unlikely to oppose an agreement backed by management and investors. shareholders of the lender.

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank declined to comment.

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