22 July 2013 07:35

Germany Says Not in Talks Over Commerzbank Stake

Management_Meeting_470x315

The German government isn't in negotiations over the sale of its stake in Commerzbank AG (CBK.XE), a finance ministry spokesman reiterated Sunday.

"Commerzbank is in the midst of a far reaching restructuring process and the positive effects of this will only become visible in the mid-term. It wouldn't make much sense to sell a bigger stake during such a process," he said, responding to a report in WirtschaftsWoche magazin.

WirtschaftsWoche reported Germany would likely sell its 17% stake in the bank within the next six months, citing a source within the government's SoFFin financial markets stabilization fund, a program set up in 2008 to restore confidence in the financial system.

The ministry had already denied it was looking to sell its stake Monday, after Focus magazine said the government was looking for a buyer abroad.

Meanwhile, news magazine Der Spiegel Sunday said several politicians in Berlin oppose the sale of the stake. "We shouldn't sell the stake now as the institution's restructuring will take time," Free Democratic Party member Florian Toncar told Spiegel, while the budgetary policy spokesman of the Social Democratic Party Carsten Schneider added that any speedy action would only create insecurity.

Germany became a shareholder of Commerzbank as part of a rescue operation in early 2009, in the wake of the market turbulence generated by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.

After a capital hike earlier this year, the government's share in the bank fell from 25% to 17%.

Write to Nicky Redl at nicky.redl@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 22, 2013 02:05 ET (06:05 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

 

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