Deutsche Bank predicts industry mergers


Deutsche Bank expects mergers in the banking industry and is open to offers, its chief executive told investors this morning as he tried to calm worries his ambitious profit goals could not be achieved.

"We anticipate further consolidation trends in our industry, and we want to respond to these trends from a position of strength," Deutsche boss Mr Josef Ackermann said at the German bank's annual general meeting.

He said that while it was the bank's aim to grow by increasing sales rather than by buying rivals, the management was duty-bound to seriously consider merger offers.

Mr Ackermann also tried to reassure shareholders - nervous after a disappointing first-quarter - by sticking to his goal of a pre-tax return on equity of 25 per cent by 2005.

He said expanding Deutsche's retail banking business was a top priority and denied market rumours that it had been put under political pressure to make an offer for government-controlled Postbank.

Shares in Deutsche rose 1.07 per cent to 64.29 euros by 10 a.m. (Irish time), outperforming a 0.78 per cent rise in Europe's banking sector.