- Co-CEO Cryan working to raise capital levels at German bank
- Deutsche Bank first bought stake in Huaxia Bank in 2006
Deutsche Bank AG agreed to sell its 20 percent stake in Huaxia Bank Co. to PICC Property and Casualty Co. as co-Chief Executive John Cryan advances plans to narrow the German company’s focus and raise capital buffers.
The sale will generate as much as 25.7 billion yuan ($4 billion), Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank said in a statement on Monday. The deal would have added 30 to 40 basis points to Deutsche Bank’s 11.5 percent common equity Tier 1 ratio, using Sept. 30 as a basis, the company said.
Cryan, who took over from Anshu Jain in July, is selling assets and reducing bonuses to help raise the company’s financial strength without tapping shareholders for funds. Deutsche Bank follows competitors Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. in selling holdings in Chinese financial institutions as new international rules make it expensive to hold minority stakes in lenders.
“It’s good that this is done, but it’s a small step in a long journey and this isn’t going to propel them forward,” Christian Hamann, an analyst at Hamburger Sparkasse who has a neutral recommendation on Deutsche Bank shares, said by phone from Hamburg. “It was clear they couldn’t do much with a minority stake. The price suggests they won’t have to take any more losses on the stake.”
The stock lost 0.5 percent Monday in Frankfurt to 22.33 euros. Deutsche Bank is among the biggest losers in Germany’s DAX Index this year, falling 11 percent compared with an 8.7 percent increase in the benchmark.
In Shanghai trading on Tuesday, Huaxia Bank rose 3 percent as of 10:29 a.m. local time, the most in almost a week. PICC declined 1.1 percent in Hong Kong.
After the deal, the insurance company will become Beijing-based Huaxia Bank’s second-largest shareholder after the government-backed Shougang Group.
The transaction will probably become a "catalyst" for a rally in Huaxia Bank’s shares, Luo Yi, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Huatai Securities Co., wrote in a client note on Tuesday. Chinese insurers have been buying stakes in banks in the past year to boost the cross-selling of products and their customer bases, the analyst said.
Deutsche Bank wrote down the value of its Huaxia stake by 649 million euros ($712 million) in the three months through September to account for a possible sale of the holding as well as “general market pressure in China,” according to its filings. That contributed to a record 6 billion-euro loss in the quarter as Cryan wrote down the value of businesses and set aside funds for potential fines and legal settlements, the filings show.
The German lender, which first established a presence in China in 1872, bought a stake in Huaxia in 2006 before increasing the holding in 2008 and again in 2011 as part of former CEO Josef Ackermann’s plan to expand in corporate and consumer banking, its website shows.
“China remains a key growth market for us,” Cryan said in the statement. While Deutsche Bank has been “pleased” with Huaxia Bank’s development, “now is the right time for us to sell this investment,” he said.