Commerzbank (CRZBY) said Friday that slow growth in business loans and restructuring costs hit the bottom line at at Germany's second-largest lender in the third quarter.
Commerzbank posted a net loss of €288 million for the three months ending in September, the bank said, although the figure was firmly ahead of the street consensus of a €509 million loss. The figures follow on from plans in September to cut staff, suspend its shareholder dividend and shift to online banking. Operating profit at the bank was pegged at €429 million, but restructuring costs of around €700 million pushed the bottom line to a net loss.
Commerzbank shares fell 1.9% in early Frankfurt trading, compared to a 0.8% decline for the DAX index benchmark, to €5.945 each. paring the three-month gain to around 15%. Deutsche Bank (DB) shares, by comparison, have risen 8.4% over the same period.
"Commerzbank has a strong market position in corporate banking. We have seen further growth in retail banking and at our Polish subsidiary mBank," Chairman Martin Zielke said. "These are good prerequisites for the implementation of our Commerzbank 4.0 strategy, which will enable us to sustainably increase our profitability. We are pursuing our growth targets ambitiously, consistently, and forcefully."
Like other European lenders, however, the bank said it had boosted its core Tier 1 capital ratio, a measure of the amount of cash the bank must set aside to absorb potential losses to 11.8% from 11.5% in the second quarter. CFO Stephan Engels said that figure should rise to "around 12%" by the end of the year. Operating expenses at the group also fell marginally, the bank said, to €5.33 billion from €5.4 billion.
The bank also had higher loan-loss provisions of €610 million in the first nine months of the year, up from €584 million in third-quarter 2015, but still kept its non-performing loan ratio at 1.7%.