Deutsche Bank reports 2017 Q4 financial results

John Cryan, Chief Executive Officer, said: “In 2017 we recorded the first pre-tax profit in three years despite a challenging market environment, low interest rates and further investments in technology and controls. Only a charge related to US tax reform at the end of the year meant that we had to post a full-year after-tax loss. We believe we are firmly on the path to producing growth and higher returns with sustained discipline on costs and risks. The Postbank merger and partial flotation of DWS are both advancing well. We have made progress, but we are not yet satisfied with our results.”

Pre-tax profitability reflects a lower burden from legacy items. The bank reported income before income taxes of EUR 1.3 billion for the full year 2017, versus a pre-tax loss of EUR 810 million in 2016. The year-on-year improvement was predominantly due to significant reductions in impairments and litigation charges.

The bank reported a fourth-quarter loss before income taxes of EUR 1.3 billion, versus EUR 2.4 billion in the prior year quarter. This improvement was also driven by a considerable reduction in litigation and impairment charges. The fourth quarter 2017 result reflected a weak revenue environment together with a negative impact from the agreement to sell a portion of the retail business in Poland and restructuring charges mainly related to the planned merger of Private & Commercial Clients Germany and Postbank.

Net income was heavily affected by US tax reform. As announced on 5 January, the bank recognised a non-cash charge of approximately EUR 1.4 billion arising from a valuation adjustment on its US Deferred Tax Assets (DTAs). Accordingly, Deutsche Bank reported a net loss of EUR 0.5 billion for 2017. Adjusting for the impact of the DTA-related charge, Deutsche Bank would have made full-year net income of around EUR 900 million versus a net loss of EUR 1.4 billion in 2016.

For the fourth quarter, Deutsche Bank reported a net loss of EUR 2.2 billion, likewise predominantly reflecting the charge related to US tax reform and compared to a net loss of EUR 1.9 billion in the prior year quarter. Going forward, the reduction in the US federal tax rate is expected to have a positive impact on net income.

Lower revenues reflected the impact of strategic business disposals and challenging market conditions. Full-year 2017 revenues were EUR 26.4 billion, down by 12%, or EUR 3.6 billion, year-on-year. Of this decline, approximately half arose from strategic business disposals including Hua Xia Bank, Abbey Life and Private Client Services in 2016. Moreover, the agreement to sell a portion of the retail business in Poland and losses from country exits negatively impacted revenues in 2017. A third major item was Debt Valuation Adjustments and the tightening of spreads on the bank’s own debt measured at fair value, which negatively affected revenues by EUR 513 million during 2017. Adjusted for these items, full-year revenues would have been down by approximately 5% year-on-year, driven by low financial-market volatility and muted client activity, notably in the fourth quarter, and persistent low interest rates.

Strategic business disposals particularly impacted fourth-quarter net revenues which fell 19% to EUR 5.7 billion. Adjusted for these and the other items mentioned above, fourth-quarter revenues would have been down 10% due again to low volatility and client activity in financial markets and continuing low interest rates.

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