Deutsche Bank swings to first full-year profit in 4 years

Despite a loss in the fourth quarter, Deutsche Bank returned to profit in 2018.
Despite a loss in the fourth quarter, Deutsche Bank returned to profit in 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - Deutsche Bank returned to profit in 2018, its first in four years, despite a loss in the fourth quarter, the German lender said on Friday (Feb 1).

The fourth-quarter net loss of €409 million (S$631.2 million) at Germany's flagship lender was greater than the €268 million expected on average by analysts, according to a consensus report on the bank's website.

Deutsche Bank has been trying to turn itself around under new leadership but has faced continuous hurdles. They include allegations of money laundering, ratings downgrades and failed stress tests.

The bank has also become the subject of rampant merger speculation.

"Our return to profitability shows that Deutsche Bank is on the right track," chief executive Christian Sewing said on Friday.

"In 2019, we aim not only to save costs but also to make focused investments in growth. We aim to grow profitability substantially through the current year and beyond," he said.

The quarter was marked by continued weakness in its key trading business. Revenue at its cash-cow bond-trading division plunged by 23 per cent.