Deutsche Bank shares slump as US tax reforms sap 2017 result

Deutsche Bank PHOTO: Bloomberg<br />

Shares in Germany’s biggest lender Deutsche Bank plunged on Friday after it said that President Donald Trump’s tax reforms in the US pushed it into the red in 2017.

Deutsche Bank shares fell more than five percent to around 14 euros ($17.5) at the start of trade on Friday, pulling the overall market down by around 0.5 percent.

Earlier, the Frankfurt-based bank had said that its net loss amounted to 512 million euros ($640 million) last year, narrower than the loss of 1.4 billion euros in 2016.

Revenues fell to 26.4 billion euros in 2017 from 30 billion euros the year before.

At a pre-tax level, however, Deutsche Bank was back in the black, notching up a profit of almost 1.3 billion euros, compared with a loss of 810 million euros the previous year.

“Only a charge related to US tax reform at the end of the year meant that we had to post a full-year after-tax loss,” chief executive John Cryan said in a statement.

“We believe we are firmly on the path to producing growth and higher returns with sustained discipline on costs and risks.”

Deutsche Bank had hoped to return to profit in 2017 after years in the red due to a deep restructuring programme and fines from a string of different legal cases.

But while the US lowered corporate taxes late last year, the changes nevertheless represented a short-term hit for Deutsche Bank, as the tax breaks it received for its financial difficulties shrank along with the tax rate.

Warning about the effect earlier this month, Deutsche Bank forecast that it would benefit in the longer term, as its average tax rate around the world would fall to 30 percent from 2018.

– Market headwinds –
The lender blamed the drop in revenues last year on “challenging market conditions”, as well as on a string of sell-offs, including its stake in Chinese bank Hua Xia, British insurance company Abbey Life and part of its Polish retail banking business.

Low financial market volatility and muted client activity, as well as “different trading conditions in certain areas” sapped revenue at its corporate and investment banking division, Deutsche Bank said.

It hopes that this year clients will trade more, as the prospect of an increase in interest rates in the eurozone inches closer.

Deutsche Bank also said it moved up in the global rankings of banks advising on mergers and acquisitions, surging into third place between October and December in a league table from data firm Dealogic.

Meanwhile, its retail banking business was “stable” as growth in loans and investment products made up for continuing pressure from low interest rates.

And the bank’s asset management unit reported net inflows of 16 billion euros in 2017, reversing a negative trend the previous year as it prepares for a stock market flotation “in the earliest available window”.

Looking ahead to the current year, Cryan told analysts in a conference call that “the outlook for revenues in 2018 seems improved compared with 2017,” without offering any more concrete forecast.

Deutsche Bank said it aimed to slash costs by more than 1.6 billion euros this year to around 23 billion — one billion euros short of target, as some planned sell-offs of business areas have been delayed.

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