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Commerzbank May Sell New Shares This Year, Handelsblatt Reports

Commerzbank AG plans to sell new shares as early as autumn this year to pave the way for an exit by the German government from the Frankfurt-based lender, Handelsblatt reported, citing unidentified people close to Chief Executive Officer Martin Blessing.

Commerzbank may sell 5 billion euros ($6.36 billion) or more if the stock market can absorb it, the newspaper reported. Blessing’s plan comes in response to pressure from the government, which wants to withdraw from its stakeholding, according to Handelsblatt.

Germany’s second-biggest bank was forced to tap Germany for 18.2 billion euros of aid during the global financial crisis.

Commerzbank spokesman Reiner Rossman repeated comments made by the bank’s finance chief Eric Strutz on Aug. 5, when the executive said the lender has no plans for a capital increase.

“This remains unchanged,” Rossmann said, when reached by telephone today.

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