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'We control our own fate,' Deutsche Bank exec says amid merger speculation

Silvia Amaro
  • There have been numerous reports that Deutsche could merge with Commerzbank given that they are both big players in Germany. A merger could help the former put an end to its long battle to become profitable.
  • Over the last decade, Deutsche has struggled with fines and several failed restructuring attempts. More recently, its headquarters were also raided by prosecutors amid a money-laundering investigation.

Amid reports of a government-brokered merger with its rival, Deutsche Bank DBK-DE insists its fate is in its own hands.

"There's a lot of speculation out there but we won't comment on mergers," James von Moltke, the chief financial officer of Deutsche Bank, told CNBC's Annette Weisbach on Friday.

"We are executing on the plan that we have defined, and as Christian (Sewing, the CEO) said I think a number of times, we are wholly focused on our own business and on executing the plans we defined," he added.

"We control our own fate."

Sewing said last year that Deutsche needs to focus on being profitable rather than looking at a merger. Sewing, who took the top job in April last year, promised to cut costs and has tried to focus on Europe to fix the company's balance sheet.

There have been numerous reports that Deutsche could merge with Commerzbank given that they are both big players in Germany. A merger could help the former put an end to its long battle to become profitable. Over the last decade, Deutsche has struggled with fines and several failed restructuring attempts. More recently, its headquarters were also raided by prosecutors amid a money-laundering investigation.

A Bloomberg report Thursday suggested that executives at the bank are concerned that if its next set of quarterly results are disappointing then it may have to merge by mid-year. This as the German government has been ramping up efforts to help fix the bank.

However, some analysts have raised concerns about whether regulators would allow such a merger. And there are also some doubts as to what extend the German government would support it. The Federal government has a stake in Commerzbank, meaning it would have a say in a potential tie-up.

Michael Huenseler, head of credit portfolio management at Assenagon Asset Management, told CNBC Friday that he does not believe a merger will happen by the middle of this year.

"I think the combination would just mean that two institutions raise synergies on the cost side again. And I don't see any growth potential here in an over-banked market, so I would prefer to see those two institutions on a standalone basis."




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