Deutsche Bank reportedly set to announce merger talks with Commerzbank

The combined workforce of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank is around 140,000. (Reuters)
Updated 17 March 2019

Deutsche Bank reportedly set to announce merger talks with Commerzbank

  • Formal disclosure of talks increases the chances of concluding a tie-up between Germany’s two largest banks
  • A merger has long been the subject of speculation

FRANKFURT: Deutsche Bank was set on Sunday to confirm merger talks with fellow German lender Commerzbank, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, an indication that efforts to combine the two businesses were gaining pace.
Formal disclosure of talks increases the chances of concluding a tie-up between the nation’s two largest banks.
A merger has long been the subject of speculation and the German government has pushed for it given concerns about the health of Deutsche which has struggled to generate sustainable profits since the 2008 financial crisis. The government holds a stake of more than 15 percent in Commerzbank following a bailout.
Earlier this month a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that the management board of Deutsche had agreed to hold talks with Commerzbank on the feasibility of a merger.
“We are going to seriously evaluate a merger,” said a person with knowledge of the matter on Sunday.
“But there is no guarantee that there will be a deal in the end,” the person said.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank declined to comment.
While the banks have not publicly commented on merger talks, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz last Monday confirmed that there are negotiations.
On Thursday, the supervisory boards of both banks are scheduled to hold long-planned meetings, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The status of merger negotiations is expected to be discussed.
Germany’s Verdi labor union has objected strongly to a possible merger between the two banks, arguing that the merged group would be a more attractive target for a hostile foreign takeover and saying that at least 10,000 jobs are at risk.
The combined workforce of the two banks is around 140,000.


Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

Updated 16 September 2019

Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

  • Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award
  • Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB

SOFIA: A Saudi-led consortium was definitively reinstated on Monday as the builder of a new gas pipeline through Bulgaria, intended to hook up to Gazprom’s TurkStream project.
Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award.
The latest development brings to an end a long-running tussle between the Saudi-led consortium and its competitors for the project, a consortium of Luxembourg-based Completions Development, Italy’s Bonatti and Germany’s Max Streicher.
Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB — to build the 474-kilometer (294-mile) pipeline.
But Bulgartransgaz later decided to strike the winner off the tender for failing to supply documents needed to sign off the contract.
Instead it accepted the offer of the second-placed consortium led by Completions Development.
However, Bulgaria’s competition watchdog ruled in July that the operator should honor its previous commitments and sign a contract with the Saudi-led group.
The watchdog’s verdict was subject to a final appeal in the courts but the Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the appeal had been withdrawn, meaning that the Arkad-led group has now been definitively reinstated.
Bulgartransgaz is in a hurry to complete the pipeline as soon as possible in a bid to enable Russian gas giant Gazprom to hook it up to its TurkStream pipeline after it becomes operational at the end of this year.
Bulgaria, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas for its domestic needs, has been repeatedly criticized by both the EU and the United States for failing to diversify both its gas sources and its delivery routes.
The Balkan country hopes to start receiving Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field as well as liquefied natural gas from various sources via terminals in Greece through a 182-kilometer (113-mile) interconnector expected to be ready by the end of 2020.