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Earnings

Deutsche Bank plans 'significant' job cuts after sharp drop in profits

Key Points
  • Deutsche Bank posted first-quarter net profits of 120 million euros ($146 million) Thursday, a 79 percent fall from last year's figure.
  • The bank announced plans to significantly reduce its workforce through the rest of 2018, particularly in its corporate and investment bank and infrastructure functions.
  • The Frankfurt-based lender has been under scrutiny from shareholders for posting three consecutive years of losses, including a 497 million euro loss for 2017.
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Deutsche Bank posted first-quarter net profits of 120 million euros ($146 million) Thursday, a 79 percent fall from last year's figure.

The bank announced plans to significantly reduce its workforce through the rest of 2018, particularly in its corporate and investment bank and infrastructure functions. It also aims to scale back operations in bond sales and equities trading, particularly in the United States and Asia.

The announcement follows news that Deutsche Bank fired 300 U.S.-based investment bankers on Wednesday, and plans to fire a further 100 by the end of this week, Reuters reported.

The net profit number was significantly lower than a Reuters poll prediction of 376 million euros. The Frankfurt-based lender has been under scrutiny from shareholders for posting three consecutive years of losses, including a 497 million euro loss for 2017.

Revenues for the quarter were down by 5 percent on the prior year period at 7 billion euros, pressured by the appreciation of the euro against the dollar and lower corporate and investment bank revenues, which fell 13 percent year-on-year to 3.8 billion euros. Revenues for all businesses were lower year-on-year.

Here are the key first-quarter metrics:

  • First-quarter net profits of 120 million euros ($146 million), a 79 percent fall from last year's figure.
  • Revenues for the quarter down 5 percent on the prior year period at 7 billion euros.
  • Corporate and investment bank revenues fell 13 percent year-on-year to 3.8 billion euros. Revenues for all businesses were lower year-on-year.
  • Asset Management revenues down 10 percent year-on-year; Private & Commercial Bank down 2 percent.
  • Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio was 13.4 percent at the end of the first quarter, versus 14.0 percent at the end of 2017.

Christian Sewing, the bank's recently-appointed chief executive officer, stressed the need to adjust its strategy in several areas of the business. He described Deutsche as being "on a good track" with its asset management business and private & commercial bank, but said in a statement that "we need to substantially improve profitability in both."

"There is no time to lose as the current returns for our shareholders are not acceptable," Sewing said.

Formerly responsible for Deutsche Bank's private and commercial side, the 47-year-old German national is expected to shift the bank's strategy away from seeking profit growth through the investment bank, with a greater focus on the domestic German market, commercial and retail banking, and wealth management.

Sewing's appointment in early April, replacing former Chief Executive John Cryan, ended much uncertainty over the bank's leadership but left a sense of ambivalence surrounding the future of its investment bank, which has been a main source of losses. Sewing is the lender's fourth chief executive in six years.

Deutsche bank shares dropped dramatically by 3.58 percent on Thursday's market open, but were down 1.52 percent on the previous day by 1:50 p.m. London time (9:50 EST).