Commerzbank CEO Says Dividend Dependent on ECB Tests

Commerzbank AG, Germany’s second-biggest bank, will wait for the results of a stress test by the European Central Bank before providing guidance on any dividend payout, Chief Executive Officer Martin Blessing said.

“We’re generally well prepared for the stress test,” but “it’s still not clear exactly how we’ll do,” Blessing said in a speech at Commerzbank’s annual general meeting in Frankfurt today. “We can’t say anything about a dividend until we get some clarity on this.”

Commerzbank’s finances face added scrutiny by the ECB as it reviews the assets of the continent’s biggest lenders and conducts stress tests before taking over as supervisor in November. Shareholders haven’t received a dividend since 2008, the year before Blessing was forced to accept an 18.2 billion-euro ($25 billion) government rescue as the value of shipping and real estate loans slumped.

“As a careful businessman”, Commerzbank probably won’t pay a dividend for 2014, Blessing said in February. The primary concern of the bank, he said at the time, was strengthening capital.

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