Commerzbank rides a return to form – and the DAX
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Commerzbank rides a return to form – and the DAX

After its DAX return, Commerzbank now has a clear – if uncertain – path to achieving its profit target, according to CFO Bettina Orlopp.

Commerzbank's Manfred Knof and Bettina Orlopp hold the opening bell as the bank rejoins the DAX index. Photo: Reuters

Higher rates, lower energy prices and cost cuts have propelled Commerzbank back into Germany’s DAX index this week.

In 2018, Germany’s second-biggest listed lender lost its place in the index to the now-defunct payments company Wirecard. That event came to symbolise the troubles of European and especially German banks, thanks to negative interest rates and the apparent rise of new fintech competitors.

Rumours later circulated about a potential takeover of Commerzbank, including a mooted merger with Deutsche Bank.

But in its 2022 results, published in mid February, Commerzbank’s net profit tripled to €1.4 billion – higher than in any year since 2007. The German lender has only paid a dividend twice since the 2008 global financial crisis, in 2015 and 2018. Now it is restarting its capital return programme, with plans for a 20 cents per share dividend on 2022 earnings and a €122 million share buyback – the latter its first ever.

“Commerzbank is back,” Manfred Knof, chief executive of Commerzbank, was quoted as declaring after the results.

When Euromoney catches up with chief financial officer and deputy CEO Bettina Orlopp in London in late February – just before the DAX re-entry – she is similarly upbeat.

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