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Banking

Germany's Commerzbank able to pay back ECB loans

Germany's partly state-owned Commerzbank has provided more details on its fourth-quarter earnings as well as on profit for the whole of 2012. It's still in rough waters, but strong enough to repay its loan from the ECB.

On Friday, Commerzbank, Germany's second-largest lender, announced additional details on its earnings last year after already having given a rough outline on February 4.

The partly state-owned bank reported a loss of 716 million euros ($954 million) for the final quarter of last year. It said the poor performance was due to one-time losses of 185 million euros on its sale of Bank Forum in Ukraine and 560 million euros in tax accounting charges.

Despite the devastating Q4 figures, Commerzbank was able to book a marginal profit of just 6 million euros for the whole of 2012 as loan losses from its remaining ship finance business increased and interest earnings shrank.

Laudable repayment morale

The lender said it had made big strides in refocusing its business by dropping riskier activities with a view to meeting new regulatory demands for banks in the wake of the financial crisis.

CEO Martin Blessing said in a statement that the bank had fulfilled the prerequisites for the complete realignment of the lender. "Initial measures are taking effect, but one thing's clear: There's still a long way to go," Blessing said in Frankfurt.

Commerzbank also announced it would no longer need any shot in the arm from the European Central Bank and would soon be able to repay the remainder of some 6 billion euros in long-term credit. Commerzbank already paid back 10 billion euros in loans at the end of January.

hg/mkg   (dpa, AP, Reuters)

DW.DE

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