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UPDATE 1-Commerzbank sees loss in Q1, investors OK cap hike
April 19, 2013 / 8:51 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Commerzbank sees loss in Q1, investors OK cap hike

* CEO says Q1 was solid in operational terms

* Books restructuring charge of 500 million euros in Q1

* Shareholders approve 2.5 bln eur capital increase (Adds shareholder vote, background on capital increase)

FRANKFURT, April 19 (Reuters) - Commerzbank warned shareholders that restructuring charges linked to job cuts would lead to a net loss in the first quarter, as it won investors’ approval for a capital increase to repay some of the German government’s bailout funding.

Restructuring charges of 500 million euros ($654 million)from its decision to cut 4,000 to 6,000 jobs by 2016 weighed on first-quarter earnings, Germany’s second biggest lender said on Friday.

Still Commerzbank made progress in divesting units and shrinking capital-intensive businesses, Chief Executive Martin Blessing said.

“We had a solid start in operational terms in the first quarter,” the CEO told shareholders gathered for their annual meeting in Frankfurt. Investors voted 96 percent in favour of the planned 2.5 billion euro capital increase.

Commerzbank’s European peers, which are set to report quarterly earnings from next week, are seen suffering from bad loans as the euro zone crisis drags on, while revenues from investment banking remain under pressure.

“2013 will not be an easy year,” said Blessing, who had waived his 2012 bonus. He added he could not make a reliable earnings forecast.

Even though the majority of shareholders gave the green light for increasing Commerzbank’s capital, many vented their anger at the meeting over what one described as “cap hike orgies” that diluted their shares.

Other shareholders accused Commerzbank board members of filling their own pockets while not paying a dividend since 2007.

Since a 2008 bail-out in the wake of the financial crisis, the German government owns 25 percent of Commerzbank, but its holding will be diluted to roughly 18 percent as it will not participate in the capital increase.

The measures will increase Commerzbank’s core Tier One capital ratio to 8.6 percent and will allow it to reach a 9-percent target, set by regulators for 2019, by the end of 2014 already.

$1 = 0.7644 euros Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Richard Chang

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