Deutsche Bank’s losses jump in 2019 to 5.7 billion euros

Deutsche Bank posted higher-than-expected losses of 5.7 billion euros (6.3 billion dollars) for 2019 due to a major restructuring programme at Germany’s leading lender, in its fifth year of net loss in a row.

Analysts had expected losses of around 5 billion euros, after a minus of 52 million euros in 2018.

The bank reported on Thursday total net revenues for 2019 of 23.2 billion euros, down 8 per cent on the previous year, while total expenses – largely attributed to the company overhaul – climbed by 7 per cent to over 25 billion euros.

The company’s investment arm, which has cost Deutsche Bank billions in fines, is likely to be trimmed back under the restructuring plans being pushed by Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing.

The number of full-time employees is also expected to be reduced by 18,000 by the end of 2022, leaving 74,000 still working there.

Cuts over the course of 2019 have already brought the number of full-time positions down to 87,597, a reduction of over 4,100.

Sewing’s plan would see the bank focus on providing services to business, specifically Germany’s so-called Mittelstand businesses – mid-sized companies that provide usually non-glamorous products that are vital to industrial processes – but also family businesses and international corporations.

Sewing has spoken of a “historic transformation.”

The company still projects to return to profit in 2020, the year of its 150th anniversary.

In a letter to employees, Sewing said he felt “satisfied and positive” despite the heavy losses in 2019.

“We were expecting this loss. And it shows one thing above all: how much of the transformation of our bank we have achieved in 2019,” he said.

“If we continue to make the kind of progress we have seen in the last six months – consistent, disciplined and dedicated – then I am very optimistic for 2020 and beyond,” he added.

Sewing pointed to “a positive trend” in the company’s Core Bank, with pre-tax profits at 543 million euros. Adjusted to exclude specific revenue items, including restructuring and severance expenses, Core Bank profit hit 2.8 billion euros, representing a 7-per-cent increase on the year.

He also stressed that the adjusted figure for 2019 costs was 21.5 billion euros and therefore in line with expectations.

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