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Deutsche Bank stumbles on path to profit as revenue recedes

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Although Deutsche Bank said that it was on track to make a profit this year, it posted a steep fall in Q3 profit as it restructures under new CEO Christian Sewing.

Frankfurt

DEUTSCHE Bank's bleak third-quarter results and revenue forecast overshadowed its assertion on Wednesday that it is on track to return to profit this year, knocking its shares.

After three years of losses, a failed stress test, several attempts to restructure, a leadership shake-up and a ratings downgrade, many investors have lost faith in Germany's biggest bank, whose shares have fallen by 43 per cent this year.

Although Deutsche Bank said that it was on track to make a profit this year, it posted a steep fall in Q3 profit as it restructures under new chief executive Christian Sewing.

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Its shares were down by 4.5 per cent after the bank said it expected revenue this year will fall from 2017. "We have our costs under control and sufficient capital to grow. We are on track to be profitable in 2018, for the first time since 2014," Mr Sewing said.

Net profit in the third quarter fell by 65 per cent to 229 million euros (S$360 million), down from 649 million euros a year ago but ahead of the 149 million euros forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Revenue in the quarter was 6.175 billion euros, down 9 per cent from 6.776 billion euros a year ago.

"It is difficult to find anything positive in Deutsche Bank's latest earnings, there was weakness right across all lines of business," Octavio Marenzi, CEO of capital markets management consultancy Opimas, said.

The quarter was marked by continued weakness in Deutsche Bank's key trading business, amid lower volatility. Revenue at its bond trading division fell by 15 per cent, while revenues from equities trading were also down 15 per cent.

"We have not yet achieved a turnaround in terms of revenues," Mr Sewing wrote in a memo to staff after Deutsche Bank said it expects 2018 revenue to be slightly lower compared to 2017 due to the restructuring of its investment banking. Deutsche Bank's finance chief, James von Moltke, said this was a result of a worse-than-expected Q3.

JPMorgan said in a research note that it was "concerned about DB's inability to turn around" key areas such as fixed income and equity sales and trading and its transaction bank.

Mr Sewing took over in April and plans to cut more than 7,000 jobs. Headcount at the end of the quarter was 94,717, down by about 700 during the quarter.

In contrast to Deutsche Bank, some big US banks have posted sharp gains. Goldman Sachs reported a 20.5 per cent increase in quarterly profit as growth in its equities trading and underwriting businesses made up for a fall in fixed income trading. REUTERS