Deutsche Bank optimistic on revenues after profit tops forecasts

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FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Germany’s Deutsche Bank are pictured in Frankfurt, Germany, September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

July 28, 2021

By Tom Sims and Patricia Uhlig

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank on Wednesday beat expectations with a surge in second-quarter profits after outperforming rivals in fixed income trading and raised its revenue outlook for next year.

The profit figures are good news for CEO Christian Sewing, who launched a major restructuring in 2019 to return the bank to profitability after a string of regulatory failings.

Sewing said in a memo to staff: “The right strategy and hard work do pay off.”

Deutsche Bank has lost around 8.2 billion over the past 10 years, but Wednesday’s results mark the group’s fourth consecutive quarterly profit, its longest streak in the black since 2012.

Finance chief, James von Moltke, told reporters he was bullish about the bank’s prospects and that revenue next year would probably be higher than previously forecast – closer to 25 billion euros ($29.52 billion) than a previously targeted 24.4 billion euros.

Deutsche Bank’s shares rose as much as 4.7% in early trade. They were 0.7% higher by 0820 GMT.

Net profit attributable to shareholders came in at 692 million euros, from a loss of 77 million euros a year earlier. The figures were better than analyst expectations for a profit of 372 million euros.

“Deutsche Bank’s credit positive restructuring is solidly on track,” said Moody’s analyst Michael Rohr.

Graphic: Deutsche Bank results – https://graphics.reuters.com/DEUTSCHEBANK-RESULTS/lgpdwmokgvo/chart.png

The bank decided to abandon a key cost target, which aims to reduce costs to 16.7 billion euros by 2022. The move came after Deutsche Bank flagged a number of unexpected costs in recent months.

Deutsche said it would focus now on a cost-to-income ratio target of 70%.

CEO Sewing said: “Our priority now is to continue with our disciplined execution of transformation, quarter by quarter.”

Deutsche Bank’s results were supported by a decrease in provisions set aside to cushion fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Provisions for credit losses were 75 million euros, down from 761 million euros a year earlier.

The investment bank’s advisory business was a standout amid a dealmaking boom, with revenue surging 166% to 111 million euros. An increase in asset management revenue and fees also helped to boost the bottom line.

Much has been riding on the performance of Deutsche’s investment bank, the group’s biggest revenue generator that helped the bank to eke out a small profit for 2020, its first after five years of losses.

Gains in the investment banking business allowed Deutsche to produce its strongest quarter in seven years at the start of 2021.

Revenue at this business declined 11% in the second quarter from a year earlier. It was the biggest fall in investment banking revenue since the bank’s revamp two years ago, but U.S. rivals also had a weaker quarter.

Graphic: Investment bank revenue – https://graphics.reuters.com/DEUTSCHEBANK-RESULTS/zdpxoyxddvx/chart.png

Revenue at Deutsche’s fixed-income and currency sales and trading business dropped 11% to 1.8 billion euros. But markets divisions at major U.S. investment banks had a 28% decline in revenue, based on analyst research from Barclays.

Sewing in his staff memo compared the bank’s turnaround process to a marathon: “The 30-kilometre (19-mile) mark is where it starts to really hurt. But we also know that it is worth pushing on.”

($1 = 0.8470 euros)

(Reporting by Tom Sims and Patricia Uhlig; Editing by Kirsti Knolle, Maria Sheahan, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jane Merriman)





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