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Weak quarter mars Deutsche Bank's return to the black

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Weak quarter mars Deutsche Bank's return to the black

Weak quarter mars Deutsche Bank's return to the black

A bigger than expected loss in the fourth quarter and weakness at its investment bank overshadowed the first annual profit in four years for Deutsche Bank.

David Pollard reports.

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Weak quarter mars Deutsche Bank's return to the black

News to celebrate from Deutsche Bank and news to not as its first annual profit in four years is overshadowed by a fourth-quarter loss that dwarfed forecasts.

Boss Christian Sewing has been trying to turn the bank around and had little hesitation in choosing his preferred headline.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) DEUTSCHE BANK CHIEF EXECUTIVE CHRISTIAN SEWING, SAYING: "Despite much headwind we operate in the black again .... And that means a bit of normality." Normality at a price.

For jobs: Sewing embarked on a plan to cut 7,000 after he took over last April.

And for budgets.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) DEUTSCHE BANK CHIEF EXECUTIVE CHRISTIAN SEWING, SAYING: "We have created a new form of cost discipline.

We have lowered our adjusted costs by one billion.

That was our most important goal for last year." But last year was also a year of a share price that halved.

The bank suffering from failed stress tests and ratings downgrades, allegations of money laundering and police raids.

After a full-year profit of 341 million euros, Sewing is confident of better later on.

But a sizeable 409 million Q4 loss has some wondering whether Deutsche might be better off merged with Commerzbank.

Sewing was tightlipped on the recent speculation on just that.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) DEUTSCHE BANK CHIEF EXECUTIVE CHRISTIAN SEWING, SAYING: "We do not comment, ever.

That's been our policy and will continue to be." Markets see the pros of such a move and the cons.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKET ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "There is too much overlapping, it would be such a fight, there would be massive redundancies.

Integrating IT alone would a be a Herculean task.

... The other school of thought is that they must merge, because of the threat of a take-over by foreign competitors." Add to the mix Q4's continued weakness in Deutsche's key trading division - where bond revenues plunged 23 per cent and some investors may see a merger as the only way forward.




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