Deutsche Bank posted its first full-year net profit since 2014 on Friday, despite a weak fourth quarter, amid growing merger speculation and a series of uphill struggles.
The profit number of 341 million euros ($390 million) for 2018 failed to beat market consensus, with a Reuters poll of analysts predicting a figure of 461 million euros. For the fourth-quarter alone, the bank posted as loss of 409 million euros, which also failed to match estimates.
"Our return to profitability shows that Deutsche Bank is on the right track. Now, our priority is to take the next step. In 2019 we aim not only to save costs but also to make focused investments in growth. We aim to grow profitability substantially through the current year and beyond," CEO Christian Sewing said in statement.
Net revenues came in at 25 billion euros for the year and 5.5 billion for the last quarter of 2018, which both narrowly missed estimates in a Reuters poll. Its common equity tier-1 ratio, which indicates a bank's strength, dropped to 13.6 percent in 2018, versus 14 percent at the end of 2017. Shares fell 2 percent shortly after markets opened in Europe on Friday.
The German lender has been under immense scrutiny by investors given its prolonged and ongoing troubles. It has been plagued by fines and several failed restructuring attempts. More recently, its headquarters were raided by prosecutors amid a money-laundering investigation.