Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft

ots Ad hoc-Service: Commerzbank AG Commerzbank raises dividend to EURO 0.80
Pre-tax profit up more than one-fifth

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    Frankfurt am Main (ots Ad hoc-Service) -      

    On the basis of preliminary results, the Commerzbank Group ended 1999 with a pre-tax profit (according to IAS) of around EURO 1.5bn, which is more than one-fifth higher than a year earlier. After sharply increased tax expenses and amounts due to minority interests have been deducted, the remaining net profit allows another EURO 500m to be allocated to retained earnings. Shareholders will also benefit from the improved results in the form of a 4% increase in the dividend to EURO 0.80 (=DM1.56) per share. This proposal will be made by the bank's board of managing directors at the supervisory board meeting on March 27. The overall dividend payment will rise to EURO 411m (1998: EURO380m). At the supervisory board meeting on February 7, Martin Kohlhaussen, chairman of the board of managing directors, reported continuing expansion of the Group's balance sheet, reflected in the 17% increase to EURO 382bn in total assets compared with a year earlier. A striking feature of the bank's income statement is the rise of roughly 30% in net commission income. Despite a weaker fourth quarter, the bank's earnings from proprietary trading were around 50% higher than a year earlier. Even with additional write-downs made for Philipp Holzmann, loan-loss provisions for the year remained within the expected framework and were thus down by a good quarter on those for 1998. Net interest income after provisioning therefore improved more than 15%. Through earnings mainly achieved on disposals from the bank's portfolio, and especially through the sale of its stake in DBV-Winterthur, another good result was achieved on financial investments. While earnings were much higher overall, operating expenses also registered a strong increase of over 20%, due, however, to special factors and higher investments for future growth.

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