August 9, 2013 / 7:00 AM / 6 years ago

Commerzbank CEO will stay on to complete revamp: paper

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Martin Blessing, chief executive of German lender Commerzbank (CBKG.DE), said he will not step down from the bank until his reform program has been completed.

The logo of Germany's Commerzbank is pictured at the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt May 10, 2013. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

“It would be absurd to give up prematurely,” Blessing told German newspaper Handelsblatt in an interview.

“I can and want to bring the reorganization of Commerzbank to a successful end. That is my goal,” he said.

Commerzbank is overhauling its operations with the aim of achieving a post tax return on equity of more than 10 percent by 2016.

The German government, which invested 18.2 billion euros ($24.4 billion) in the lender as part of a bailout during the financial crisis, still owns a 17 percent stake.

Commerzbank on Thursday reported a pick-up in its investment bank and lower provisions for bad shipping loans which took the sting out of a sharp fall in quarterly net profit.

Earnings missed expectations in each quarter of 2012 and in this year’s first quarter the bank warned it would not pay a dividend for 2013.

When asked whether the German government was shopping around its 17 percent stake in Commerzbank, Blessing said: “Strategic investors want to create something. For this a 17 percent stake would be too small.”

“Furthermore I cannot see how the Federal Government has an interest in exiting at the current share price. From the point of view of the Federal Government, the shares must rise and I’m working on that.”

Commerzbank shares were trading 4 percent higher on Friday, at 7.95 euros, well below the 26 euros at which Germany bought a its stake.

($1 = 0.7471 euros)

(Corrects currency conversion, no changes to text)

Reporting by Edward Taylor and Harro ten Wolde; Editing by David Cowell and Jane Merriman

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