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Deutsche Bank Shrinks Austrian Equity Unit, Transfers Staff

Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest lender, said it’s scaling back its equity business in Austria and moving staff to bigger offices elsewhere in Europe as a slump in markets and trading weighs on earnings.

The bank must “concentrate its regional equities business more closely in Frankfurt and London” given trends in “sales and margin development,” Deutsche Bank said in an e-mailed memo to clients confirmed by a spokesman for the lender. Employees were informed yesterday and firings aren’t planned, according to the spokesman, who declined to be identified in line with company policy.

Deutsche Bank is following other European lenders that have scaled back in Austria as part of plans to shrink their businesses and stem capital shortfalls. France’s Credit Agricole SA shuttered the Vienna branch of its CA Cheuvreux brokerage last year, while Italy’s UniCredit SpA cut 12 jobs in the Austrian capital in November as it abandons the equities business in western Europe.

Johannes Linhart, head of equities in Austria, and research analyst Matthias Pfeifenberger will remain in Vienna, though other bankers may be moved to Frankfurt or London, according to the spokesman. He declined to say how many people would be affected.

Deutsche Bank held the number one positions in Austrian investment banking and trading Austrian equities last year, and aims to maintain the top spot, according to the statement.

The bank, based in Frankfurt, announced in October that it would cut about 500 jobs at its investment banking unit after scrapping its full-year profit forecast in the wake of Europe’s debt crisis. It’s also cutting its Milan brokerage staff, three people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this week.

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