Deutsche Bank merger with Commerzbank doesn't make sense: advisor

FILE PHOTO: Banners of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are pictured in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - A merger between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank does not make economic sense at the moment, an advisor to Germany’s Finance Ministry said on Thursday.

Joerg Rocholl, the deputy chairman of a council of outside experts who advise the Finance Ministry, said Deutsche Bank should be given time to continue to improve profitability.

“Deutsche Bank has just made its first profit in several years and even exceeded its cost targets,” he told Reuters. “One should give the bank and its management time to continue along this path.”

“That is why I do not see any economically plausible justification for a merger at the moment,” he said.

Speculation of a merger has heightened under the tenure of Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who has spoken in favor of strong banks. Both banks have been slow to return to sustainable profitability since the global financial crisis.

On Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter said U.S. investor Cerberus, a major shareholder in both banks, was open to a merger between Germany’s two biggest lenders.

Reporting by Rene Wagner; Writing by Tom Sims; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Michelle Martin