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Big loss widens full-year gap

DEUTSCHE Bank AG confirmed yesterday that a hefty 4.8-billion-euro (US$6.1 billion) net loss in the fourth quarter resulted in a shortfall for the full year. It expects global economic weakness to continue posing "significant challenges."

The Frankfurt-based bank - Germany's largest - said its fourth-quarter net loss compared with a net profit of 1 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2007 and was largely because of big trading losses. It also led to a net loss of 3.9 billion euros for 2008.

Revenue tipped into the red in the fourth quarter, coming in at a negative 885 million euros ?? compared with 7.3 billion euros a year earlier ?? mainly because of a 4.8-billion-euro trading loss in equities, derivatives and credit markets.

Shares of Deutsche Bank tumbled 2.7 percent to 20.65 euros in Frankfurt yesterday afternoon.

The bank cited "unprecedented" operating conditions and "weaknesses in our business model."

The results were in line with a preliminary estimate issued by the bank last month.

"We are very disappointed at our fourth-quarter result, and the consequent full-year net loss," Chief Executive Josef Ackermann said. "Looking forward, we see continuing very difficult conditions for the global economy, posing significant challenges for our clients and for our industry."

However, Ackermann said at the bank's press conference that over the past months the company had reassessed the financial crisis' effects on the bank and repositioned and adjusted its business.

He hoped the bank would see more business as clients made "a flight to quality" and said the bank had made a successful start to 2009, which gave him confidence for the full year. He didn't provide any figures.

Ackermann told reporters the bank would focus on specific regions and markets, including more focused investments in some markets. He did not rule out the possibility of making small acquisitions.


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