BERLIN • Deutsche Bank AG is prepared to consider deals once the lender has boosted its profitability over the next 18 months, chief executive officer Christian Sewing said.
"We have a very clear plan to remain a global bank, but we have to work on profitability now," he said at an event in Berlin. "If that happens, we can talk about other things," he said in response to a question about a possible merger with Commerzbank.
Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper said yesterday the bank may study a large capital increase for such a deal. A bank spokesman declined to comment on the report.
Combining Germany's two largest banks has won the backing of government officials who are keen on creating a financial heavyweight to support the country's exporters before a downturn strikes.
Deutsche Bank chairman Paul Achleitner has also discussed the option with German officials, though the lender is wary of a deal because it is still seeking to show that it can thrive on its own, people familiar with the matter have said.
Deutsche Bank is seeking to navigate its fourth strategic overhaul in three years, cutting thousands of jobs and paring back businesses in the United States and Asia. The lender's stock has fallen 34 per cent this year.
"For the time being, we at Deutsche Bank want to do our homework," Mr Sewing said.