About a month before leaving the helm at Deutsche Bank, Chief Executive Josef Ackermann has had to report a slump in quarterly profits. Weak investment banking is giving his successors a headache.
Deutsche Bank's first-quarter net profit dropped by about a third to 1.4 billion euros ($1.85 billion) compared with a profit of 2.1 billion euros earned by the bank in the same period a year ago, Europe's biggest bank reported Thursday.
The profit slump was to be attributed to lower investment banking revenues and a one-time write-off, Deutsche Bank said in a statement. It is sharper than predicted by market analysts who forecast net profit to reach 1.66 billion euros, according to a FactSet poll.
Deutsche Bank's corporate and investment bank division, headed by Anshu Jain, made a profit of 1.7 billion euros - down from 2011 first quarter profits of 2.3 billion euros.
In addition, earnings before taxes from private banking with wealthy clients sagged by half to 413 million euros, and the bank had to take a 257-million-euro writedown on a loan with pharmaceutical company Actavis.
Chief Executive Josef Ackermann described the figures as a "good result," given a "far less favorable environment" than a year ago, which included a continued "risk discipline" at the bank and "lower client activity."
Putting the house in order
Deutsche Bank's quarterly result was the last published by CEO Josef Ackermann before he hands the bank over to incoming co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen in May.
Warning that the global financial crisis was far from over, Ackermann, however, said that the bank had made "good progress" in lowering the bank's exposure to risks.
He said that ending Deutsche Bank's exposure to Activis, which is being bought by Watson Pharmaceuticals, was part of the bank's disinvestment drive of loss-making partnerships and would boost the bank's capital cushion.
In addition, earnings in the investment banking division had rebounded from those in the previous quarter, when it incurred a major loss for the first time in many years.
However, Ackermann rejected giving an earnings outlook for 2012 due to what he called persistent "market uncertainty."
uhe/sgb (Reuters, AP, dpa)