Frankfurt: Commerzbank AG revenue proved resilient in the first quarter, giving a boost to chief executive officer Martin Zielke after the breakdown of merger talks with Deutsche Bank AG.
The lender — which plans to update investors on its stand-alone strategy after the summer — met analyst estimates for revenue of €2.16 billion ($2.42 billion; Dh9.94 billion) in the first three months, though it fell from a year earlier. The bank added 123,000 new retail customers and 800 business clients, fuelling better-than-expected results for net interest income.
Halfway through his four-year turnaround plan, Zielke can point to the jump in customer numbers and lending volumes as signs of progress in his turnaround, even as negative interest rates and rising competition have eroded growth and forced Commerzbank to give up most of its mid-term targets.
Five weeks of talks with Deutsche Bank to build a larger, more competitive bank through a merger collapsed last month, fuelling speculation that another bidder for Commerzbank may come forward.
Zielke, who has refocused the bank on lending to corporate and retail clients, has told employees that the bank needs to gain market share if it wants to survive. The bank confirmed its 2019 guidance on metrics including revenue and costs, though boosting the level of profitability remains a key challenge.
The shares have gained about 34 per cent this year, making it one of the best performing European bank stocks.