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Business

German Finance Minister Hails Dresdner Bank Sale

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck on Monday said the purchase of Dresdner Bank by Commerzbank, in the face of competition from a Chinese bank, would be "good for Germany."

German Finance Minister Per Steinbrueck laughs

Steinbrueck's pleased with the sale

"This is good for Germany as a financial location and strengthens the financial center," Steinbrueck said in a statement issued in Beijing, where he met top Chinese officials on Monday.

Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen said his government had used "no political influence" over the sale by Germany's Allianz of Dresdner Bank for 9.8 billion euros ($14.4 billion) to Commerzbank, which faced competition from the state-owned China Development Bank as a bidder.

"The decision was taken entirely by the Commerzbank and Allianz shareholders," Asmussen said.

Steinbrueck and Asmussen held talks Monday with Chinese officials including Vice Premier Li Keqiang, Finance Minister Xie Xuren and Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank governor.

New banking force

Commerzbank and Allianz announced the agreement after their supervisory boards signed off on merging Germany's second and third biggest banks at separate meetings Sunday.

With total assets of about 1.09 trillion euros and 11 million German customers, a merged Commerzbank-Dresdner bank will result in the emergence of new banking force in Europe's biggest economy.

But the corporate marriage between the two banks will lead to job cuts of 9,000 from their combined workforce of about 67,000 employees, with 2,500 jobs losses in the banks' foreign operations.

Deutsche Bank AG, which failed in a bid to merge with Dresdner eight years ago, remains the largest bank in Germany with assets totalling about 2 trillion euros.

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