The FINANCIAL -- In its Annual Report published on March 26, Commerzbank reports on its figures for the past financial year.
The main key figures in the consolidated income statement are unchanged compared to the provisional figures communicated on 8 February 2018. The Commerzbank Group’s operating profit for 2017 stood at €1,303 million. Commerzbank achieved a positive consolidated profit attributable to Commerzbank shareholders of €156 million despite booking restructuring expenses of €808 million.
“At Group level, operating business developed soundly overall in 2017, despite the ongoing restructuring. Income before loan loss provisions fell to € 9.2 billion. However, when adjusted for positive one-off income and remeasurement effects, the income before loan loss provisions rose slightly from the previous year to €8.6 billion. Operating expenses were reduced slightly to €7.1 billion in 2017. Operating profit was down slightly from the previous year at €1.3 billion. The positive trend in our capital position continued in the year under review. The Common Equity Tier 1 ratio stood at 14.1% at the end of December, compared with 12.3% in the previous year. As a result, the Bank’s capital position is comfortable and we clearly exceed all the applicable regulatory requirements. Our loan loss provisions remain low thanks to the stable economic situation in Germany and the quality of our loan book, as reflected in an excellent non-performing loan ratio of just 1.3%”, said Martin Zielke, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Commerzbank.
Zielke added: “We are targeting a dividend distribution for the 2018 financial year. Meanwhile, we will continue the restructuring of Commerzbank in 2018 and take further key steps as we evolve to become a digital enterprise, all the while striving to achieve higher growth in our core business areas and enhance profitability. These are our objectives, and we will pursue them diligently.”
In the Private and Small-Business Customers segment, Commerzbank attracted over 500,000 new customers and more than €38 billion in assets during the reporting year. New retail mortgage financing business amounted to €15 billion, topping the nearly €12 billion in new business in the previous year. The Bank is now operating the consumer lending business on the in-house Commerzbank platform. At the same time, in Private and Small-Business Customers the Bank made a conscious decision to invest in the digital and personal services it offers to customers. The branches will continue to play a crucial role in the growth strategy. The Polish mBank again performed very well and gained around 292,000 net new customers in 2017, according to Commerzbank.
The business performance of the Corporate Clients segment last year was largely determined by two factors: externally, by ever rising competition, and internally by the implementation of the Commerzbank 4.0 strategy. The focus here was on bringing together product units and concentrating on the core business, as well as continuously implementing growth initiatives and digitalising processes and products. Against the backdrop of these challenges, the segment comfortably beat its cumulative target of 3,500 net new customers by the end of 2017. This demonstrates that the strategic adjustments are going down well with the corporate customers.
The individual financial statement of Commerzbank AG pursuant to the provisions of the German Commercial Code (HGB) states a net income of €176 million for 2017 (2016: €1,494 million). This takes into consideration the servicing of all profit-sharing rights in Commerzbank AG. The Bank intends to fully retain earnings for 2017. Detailed information about the monetary remuneration of the board members can be found in the remuneration report (pages 27 to 39). The number of employees of the Commerzbank Group as of the end of December 2017 was 49,417 (end of December 2016: 49,941). In autumn, the Supervisory Board extended the appointment of Martin Zielke as Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors until November 2023.
For the first time, the Annual Report also includes a non-financial report pursuant to the German Act on Strengthening Corporate Non-Financial Reporting (CSR-Richtlinie-Umsetzungsgesetz) (pages 44 to 52). In it, Commerzbank reports on the six areas: environmental protection, treatment of employees, social responsibility, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and anti-bribery, and treatment of customers.
In financial year 2018, Commerzbank will focus on continuing to implement the Commerzbank 4.0 strategy. Commerzbank expects, that slightly lower income with slightly lower operating expenses and a significant fall in the risk result will give an operating profit almost on the level of the previous year and a slightly worse cost/income ratio. Excluding the effect from one-off income last year, operating income this year will rise slightly, resulting in a slight improvement in the cost/income ratio; on this adjusted basis there is a significant improvement in operating profit. As no more significant restructuring expenses are likely to be needed, the Bank expects a strong rise in the consolidated surplus in the current year. In view of Commerzbank’s comfortable equity capital position and the intention to further improve the risk profile, Commerzbank is aiming to pay a dividend for financial year 2018.