Deutsche Bank to slash 18,000 jobs in sweeping restructuring

The Deutsche Bank headquarters are seen in Frankfurt, Germany October 29, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 07 July 2019

Deutsche Bank to slash 18,000 jobs in sweeping restructuring

  • The bank said it would cut roughly a quarter of its total annual costs
  • Deutsche Bank has struggled with regulatory penalties and fines, weak profits, high costs and a falling share price

FRANKFURT: Germany’s struggling Deutsche Bank said Sunday it would cut 18,000 jobs by 2022, downsizing its volatile investment banking division in a restructuring aimed at restoring consistent profitability and better returns to shareholders.
The Frankfurt-headquartered bank said it would cut roughly a quarter of its total annual costs, from 22.8 billion euros last year to 17 billion euros, through steps such as dropping the investment bank’s stock-trading business.
It also plans to slim the division focused on fixed-income investments.
The aim is to focus on areas where the bank is among market leaders, and on businesses with steadier earnings such as serving corporate customers.
For years, Deutsche Bank has struggled with regulatory penalties and fines, weak profits, high costs and a falling share price. The bank went three straight years without turning an annual profit before recording positive earnings of 341 million euros for 2018. CEO Christian Sewing took over last year and promised faster restructuring after predecessor John Cryan was perceived to have moved too slowly.
Deutsche Bank shares rose 2.5 percent on Friday to 7.18 euros as markets anticipated a restructuring announcement. That is far below levels from mid-2015, when the shares traded over 30 euros per share. Shareholders received a dividend of only 11 cents per share for 2017 and 2018.
The bank said one-time charges from the changes would mean a net loss of 2.8 billion euros in the second quarter. Excluding the charges, net profit would have been about 120 million euros.
The restructuring follows the failure in April of merger talks with German rival Commerzbank. Deutsche Bank said the combination would not make business sense, but that left open the question of what strategy the bank could pursue to make its business leaner and more profitable.
As part of the restructuring the bank said it would create a separate unit to dispose of billions in investments that are less profitable or no longer fit its strategy. The bank said it did not expect to have to raise additional capital from shareholders.
When complete, the job cuts are to reduce the workforce to 74,000. The bank would not say where the cuts would fall; many of its investment banking activities are carried out in New York and London.
The bank paid billions in fines and settlements related to behavior before and after the global financial crisis, including a $7.2 billion settlement in 2017 with the Justice Department over selling bonds based on mortgages to people with shaky credit. But that hasn’t ended the negative headlines. Two congressional committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank documents as part their investigations into President Donald Trump and his company. Deutsche Bank was one of the few banks willing to lend to Trump after a series of corporate bankruptcies and defaults starting in the early 1990s.
Trump had sued Deutsche Bank to stop the subpoenas, but a judge in May ruled against the president.


A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

Updated 05 December 2019

A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

  • Products used by WashyWash are non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral
  • Amman-based laundry service aims to relocate to a larger facility in mid-2020

AMMAN: A persistent sinus problem prompted a Jordanian entrepreneur to launch an eco-friendly dry-cleaning service that could help end the widespread use of a dangerous chemical.

“Dry cleaning” is somewhat of a misnomer because it is not really dry. It is true that no water is involved in the process, but the main cleaning agent is perchloroethylene (PERC), a chemical that experts consider likely to cause cancer, as well as brain and nervous system damage.

Kamel Almani, 33, knew little of these dangers when he began suffering from sinus irritation while working as regional sales director at Eon Aligner, a medical equipment startup he co-founded.

The problem would disappear when he went on vacation, so he assumed it was stress related.

However, when Mazen Darwish, a chemical engineer, revealed he wanted to start an eco-laundry and warned about toxic chemicals used in conventional dry cleaning, Almani had an epiphany.

“He began to tell me how PERC affects the respiratory system, and I suddenly realized that it was the suits I wore for work — and which I would get dry cleaned — that were the cause of my sinus problems,” said Almani, co-founder of Amman-based WashyWash.

“That was the eureka moment. We immediately wanted to launch the business.”

WashyWash began operations in early 2018 with five staff, including the three co-founders: Almani, Darwish and Kayed Qunibi. The business now has 19 employees and became cash flow-positive in July this year.

“We’re very happy to achieve that in under two years,” Almani said.

The service uses EcoClean products that are certified as toxin-free, are biodegradable and cause no air, water or soil pollution.

Customers place orders through an app built in-house by the company’s technology team.

WashyWash collects customers’ dirty clothes, and cleans, irons and returns them. Services range from the standard wash-and-fold to specialized dry cleaning for garments and cleaning of carpets, curtains, duvets and leather goods.

“For wet cleaning, we use environmentally friendly detergents that are biodegradable, so the wastewater doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals,” Almani said.

For dry cleaning, WashyWash uses a modified hydrocarbon manufactured by Germany’s Seitz, whose product is non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral.

A specialized company collects the waste and disposes of it safely.

The company has big ambitions, planning to expand its domestic operations and go international. Its Amman site can process about 1,000 items daily, but WashyWash will relocate to larger premises in mid-2020, which should treble its capacity.

“We’ve built a front-end app, a back-end system and a driver app along with a full facility management system. We plan to franchise that and have received interest from many countries,” Almani said.

“People visiting Amman used our service, loved it, and wanted an opportunity to launch in their countries.”

WashyWash has received financial backing from angel investors and is targeting major European cities initially.

“An eco-friendly, on-demand dry-cleaning app isn’t available worldwide, so good markets might be London, Paris or Frankfurt,” Almani said.

 

• The Middle East Exchange is one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives that was launched to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai in the field of humanitarian
and global development, to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. The initiative offers the press a series of articles on issues affecting Arab societies.