Deutsche Bank beat forecasts with a quarterly net profit at a near-record level as crisis-era expansion at its investment bank bore fruit.

Germany's biggest lender said on Thursday first-quarter net profit rose 18 percent to 2.1 billion euros ($3.1 billion), higher than a forecast of 1.82 billion in a Reuters poll, sending shares 2.9 percent higher in pre-market trade.

The quarterly figure was second only to the 2.13 billion euros record net profit in the first quarter of 2007.

Deutsche Bank said it remained confident it can deliver its 2011 target of 10 billion euros pretax profit, a view that is gaining traction among analysts.

Deutsche Bank was able to increase market share in investment banking overall, DZ Bank analyst Matthias Duerr said, adding the lender is well on track to deliver its target.

Its investment bank unit delivered the lion's share of group pretax profit -- down 4 percent to 2.6 billion euros of a total 3 billion -- thanks to strong revenue from rates, money markets, foreign exchange and commodities trading.

By contrast, UBS said on Tuesday quarterly pretax profit at its investment bank fell 33 percent. Rival Credit Suisse posted a 25 percent decline in pretax profit at its investment bank during the same period.

U.S. peers Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley also posted sharply lower profit as investment banking revenues failed to live up to an unusually strong quarter in the year-earlier period.


Deutsche Bank's earnings reflected investment bank market share gains as well as increased revenue from deals struck in the aftermath of the global credit crisis, such as the purchase of retail lender Deutsche Postbank and wealth manager Sal. Oppenheim.

Deutsche Bank's private clients and asset management section division posted a record pretax profit of 978 million euros sharply higher than the 184 million euros posted in the first quarter 2010.

We will continue to invest in our franchise and are confident that we will deliver on our ambitious target of income before income tax of 10 billion euros from our business divisions, Chief Executive Josef Ackermann said.

Deutsche Bank said it had reached No. 4 spot globally by share of corporate finance fees, up from No. 5 at the end of 2010. Top five rankings were achieved across mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets, high yield and investment grade bonds globally.

Since last year, a raft of banking rules and economic wobbles in the euro zone as well political turmoil in the Arab world and Japan's earthquake have rattled markets and dampened traditionally strong investment bank earnings.

Deutsche Bank has said it expected the corporate banking and securities division to contribute 6.4 billion euros in 2011 pretax profit, up by a quarter.

Higher volumes, improved market share and the benefits from an efficiency program will help the investment bank deliver the lion's share of the target, the bank has said previously.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Erica Billingham)