Commerzbank Forecasts `Slight Improvement' in 2016 Profit

  • German lender says cost management will be `rigorous'
  • CEO Martin Blessing's pay rises to EU1.7 million in 2015

Commerzbank AG said it expects a “slight improvement” in full-year net profit as Germany’s second-largest lender cuts costs and unwinds toxic assets.

While “capital-market volatility is likely to remain high in 2016, with continuing burdens from the lowest interest-rate environment,” Commerzbank will continue its “rigorous cost management,” the lender said in its annual report on Friday. The bank said it expects full-year profit to rise from 1.06 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in 2015, “provided that there are no significant changes in economic and political conditions.”

Commerzbank last month posted fourth-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates, led by a jump in earnings at its consumer-banking business, and said it will wind down its unit for soured loans at a faster pace than forecast. Under Chief Executive Officer Martin Blessing, the lender has boosted profit by cutting jobs and tapping investor demand for higher-yielding assets to shrink its pile of delinquent shipping and commercial real-estate loans.

Martin Zielke, who overhauled the lender’s consumer-banking unit, will succeed Blessing when the CEO’s term ends on April 30, the bank said earlier this month. Blessing was paid 1.7 million euros for 2015, including salary, bonuses and other considerations. That’s more than the 1.6 million euros he was awarded for the previous year, according to the annual report.

The company said last month that it plans to pay a dividend of 20 cents a share this year, the first payout since 2007. The shares jumped 3.6 percent to 8.39 euros at 12:44 p.m. in Frankfurt.

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