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Commerzbank operating on profit

FRANKFURT, Nov 5 – The second biggest German bank, Commerzbank, said Thursday that its operating profit climbed in the third quarter of 2009 but confirmed a heavy net loss owing to restructuring costs and writedowns.

Operating profit reached 120 million euros (178 million dollars) in the three-month period, compared with a loss of 1.45 billion in the same period a year earlier, a Commerzbank statement said.

But the bank, which was part nationalised because of the global financial crisis with the German state taking a 25-percent stake plus one share, posted a net loss of 1.055 billion euros.

That was mainly the result of 650 million euros in writedowns on the value of bank assets and an estimated 904 million euros in planned charges for the integration of Dresdner Bank, the statement said.

Commerzbank bought Dresdner Bank from the insurance group Allianz for 4.7 billion euros.

Looking ahead, bank chairman Martin Blessing was quoted as saying: The German core business is profitable, but Commerzbank will close 2009 with a loss."

The bank raised its provisions against loan defaults slightly to 1.053 billion euros from 993 million at the end of the second quarter.

The figures confirmed initial results released on Monday.

After the financial crisis sent the global banking system close to collapse last year, the German government propped up Frankfurt-based Commerzbank with 18 billion euros in fresh capital.

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It had to agree to shrink its 1.1-trillion-euro balance sheet by about 45 percent through asset sales, however, in order to win approval for the state aid from European Union regulators in Brussels.

In 2008, Commerzbank posted a record loss of 6.6 billion euros.

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