Commerzbank warns of profit drop for 2019…

The German bank, which reported a 35% jump in its third-quarter net profit, had already flagged that revenue would also shrink this year against a weaker economic backdrop

The state-backed bank, which is restructuring after a failed merger attempt with Deutsche Bank, also cited trade conflicts and expectations for a higher tax rate in the fourth quarter for the profit downgrade.

“We deliberately set long-term success above short-term return targets,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke said.

The bank’s shares were down 2.1% late morning in Frankfurt.

Commerzbank overhaul includes cutting staff, closing branches and selling mBank  in Poland.

The bank has sent out so-called teasers to potential bidders for mBank, finance chief Stephan Engels said on Thursday, an important first step in the sale process.

The Polish state-run banks PKO BP and Pekao  have confirmed interest in bidding, as has the Austrian bank Erste Group.

Other potential suitors include Credit Agricole, Banco Santander, BNP Paribas, ING , according to people familiar with the matter. These banks declined to comment or did not respond to requests seeking comment.

“We have received very constructive feedback,” Engels said.

Commerzbank, part owned by the German government after a bailout, has been struggling for years with a legacy of bad debts, high costs and fines, and tough trading conditions have hampered its recovery efforts.

Net profit in the third quarter came in at 294 million euros (£253 million), up from 218 million euros last year, in line with preliminary figures published last month.

Banks in Germany and elsewhere in the European Union have complained about the effect of the European Central Bank’s ultra-loose policy on their bottom lines.

At Commerzbank, a so-called tiering program by the ECB to offset the fees it charges banks for holding their deposits, will only partially offset charges by the central bank, Engels said.

Commerzbank is in the process of charging higher prices for deposits for corporate clients, and it has reached out to a number of private clients about passing along fees, he said. Those include people with well over 1 million euros in their accounts.

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