Despite a difficult market environment in the 2011 business year, Commerzbank increased the result of its Core Bank and considerably reduced risks. At the Core Bank, which encompasses the strategically significant customer-centric business of Commerzbank, it was possible to increase the operating profit substantially to EUR 4.5 billion (2010: EUR 2.0 billion).
The revenues before loan loss provisions of the Core Bank increased by 14 % to EUR 12.4 billion (2010: EUR 10.9 billion) in the light of the stable economic situation in the core markets Germany and Poland. Despite the massive charges resulting from the European sovereign debt crisis, the Commerzbank Group attained a net profit of EUR 638 million. It was possible to lower the loan loss provisions in the Group significantly by more than 40 % to just less than EUR 1.4 billion (2010: EUR 2.5 billion), in particular due to a successful restructuring of loans.
The Private Customers segment has recovered considerably despite an ongoing difficult market environment. Mittelstandsbank again attained a very good operating profit of EUR 1.5 billion. Central & Eastern Europe was able to considerably improve its profit, in particular thanks to the record result at Poland's BRE Bank. In spite of difficult markets in the second half of 2011, Corporates & Markets attained a positive result in all four quarters.
In the typically weaker fourth quarter the Group was able to increase its net profit to EUR 316 million (2010: EUR 257 million). This includes a positive one-off effect from the repurchase of hybrid equity instruments in the amount of EUR 735 million, offset by a further write-down on Greek sovereign bonds in the amount of approximately EUR 0.7 billion and a negative effect due to the write-down of corresponding interest rate derivatives used for hedging.
"2011 was characterised for Commerzbank by a successful first six months and difficult market conditions in the second half of the year. The good operating profit of the Core Bank shows: Our customer-centric business model, which is firmly anchored in the real economy, has proved itself and is also successful in a challenging environment," said Martin Blessing, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Commerzbank.
"We also attained important strategic goals in 2011: With a capital measure we have rapidly and to a large extent reduced the silent participations of SoFFin by EUR 14.3 billion. Moreover, we have further improved our capital structure and prepared the Bank for the new regulatory environment. We have implemented the integration of Dresdner Bank more quickly than planned, with the effect that in the spring of 2011 we were able to conclude the integration project after just 1,000 days. I would like to thank our employees for their commitment." The close partnership between Germany's Mittelstand and Commerzbank remains a declared strategic goal of the Bank. Martin Blessing: "We are aware of our responsibility for supplying the German economy with loans, and will continue to stand by our customers, and in particular SMEs, our large corporate customers and institutional clients, as a reliable partner."