Deutsche Bank CEO Confident of Growth in Investment Unit: FAS

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing is confident the sluggish corporate and investment bank unit will show future growth, but he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung he’s ready to change direction if improvements are elusive.

“We can grow properly again in this area," if markets stabilize as they did in March, he said in the interview. “If this does not improve in a sustainable way, then I will follow through and say we have to think of something else.”

While Deutsche Bank is operating profitably, Sewing told the newspaper, “this is one of the most difficult first quarters I ever saw concerning the market environment." His aim is to increase profitability over the next two to three years and “finally” increase the bank’s market capitalization, he said.

The CIB unit reported revenue of 3.33 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in the first quarter, the bank said Thursday, the weakest first quarter for the division since the financial crisis. The bank has cut its outlook for full-year revenue after its ninth straight quarter of contraction.

On the collapse of government-brokered merger talks with Commerzbank AG, Sewing said his negotiators concluded that a merged entity would generate a lower yield than the sum of both banks’ yields separately. “You could say one plus one wouldn’t be two," the CEO said.

Sewing declined to comment on what would make a merger feasible. If another lender were to acquire Commerzbank, “we could deal with that," he said, adding "it would be wrong to force a merger for purely defensive reasons."

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