Deutsche Bank confident on 2011, analysts skeptical

By @ibtimes on

Deutsche Bank rejoined on Thursday the uphill battle to convince analysts it can reach its ambitious 2011 targets, even after packing a raft of restructuring charges into its 2010 figures.

Chief Executive Josef Ackermann said the bank remained on track to meet profit goals, three days after publishing fourth-quarter results that missed expectations by a wide margin.

Germany's flagship lender has said it sees pretax profit of 10 billion euros ($13.8 billion) in 2011. A Reuters poll showed that the bank was not expected to get close to that figure before 2012.

If the market conditions are really very good, it could achieve them (the goals). If not, it won't, said Peter Thorne, an analyst at Helvea.

Kepler Equities analyst Dirk Becker said the 10 billion euro figure was not realistic. Eight billion would be a great result, he said.

The market turned less skeptical, pushing shares in Deutsche Bank up 1.4 percent to 45.025 euros by 0925 GMT, after an initial decline in early trade, outperforming the STOXX Europe 600 banks index <.SX7P>, which was 0.2 percent lower.

Late on Monday, Deutsche Bank revealed lower-than-expected fourth-quarter pretax profit, weighed down by charges to restructure the investment bank and integration costs for Deutsche Postbank and Sal. Oppenheim.

Deutsche Bank bought Postbank to tap into the German retail banking market and offset volatile investment bank earnings.

But in the fourth quarter of 2010, the investment bank, led by India-born Anshu Jain -- seen as one of the most likely candidates to succeed Ackermann when he retires in 2013 -- still accounted for about 88 percent of pretax profit.

Also on Thursday, the euro zone's largest bank, Santander , reported an 8.5 percent drop in net profit, dragged lower by provisioning against bad Spanish assets following a property crash.

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Deutsche Bank's fourth-quarter pretax profit fell to about 700 million euros ($960.3 million) from 756 million euros a year earlier on higher costs, undershooting the 1.29 billion euro average estimate in a Reuters poll.

Ackermann said Deutsche Bank deliberately accelerated its investments, for instance in integration and infrastructure improvements. He did not provide further details.

Our confidence that we can achieve this (2011) target stems from the fact that we not only made provisions for the future in 2010, but we also set new records and captured market share in many businesses, he told journalists on Thursday.

Deutsche Bank also kept its annual dividend to shareholders unchanged at 0.75 euros per share, undershooting consensus for 0.82 euros.

Some analysts said Deutsche Bank's results were solid once the one-off factors were taken out.

The good news is that the pretax miss they forewarned about on Monday seems entirely driven by restructuring costs. The underlying results look pretty good, said Matthew Clark, an analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods.

Higher revenue at the investment bank signals strong earnings momentum, bucking a trend set by rivals. Sales and trading revenue, traditionally Deutsche Bank's cash cow, rose 30 percent year on year, cheered by analysts.

This month, U.S. banks showed signs of weaker investment banking activity as Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs suffered a year-end slump in trading revenue.

($1 = 0.7224 euro)

(Reporting by Edward Taylor, Michelle Martin and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Will Waterman and David Hulmes)

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