Share sale: Exit of the Capital Group triggers price slides at Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank
Frankfurt The sale of large blocks of shares by Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank weighed heavily on the share prices of both banks on Tuesday. Commerzbank shares fell by 7.9 percent by midday, Deutsche Bank shares fell by eight percent.
The seller was a large investor whose name was not known, who parted with more than five percent of each of the two major German banks for a total of 1.75 billion euros. Financial circles confirmed to the Handelsblatt that the seller is Capital One.
According to experts, the fund has come to the conclusion that the environment for European banks has recently deteriorated significantly. The recovery that was actually hoped for as a result of the forthcoming interest rate turnaround by the European Central Bank will be overshadowed by the economic consequences of the Ukraine war.
The Capital Group, along with the US asset manager Blackrock, is the only investor with enough shares for a sale on this scale. However, Blackrock is out of the question for such a share sale because most of the shares are in funds that map a specific share index, so they cannot freely choose which shares they own. The Capital Group, on the other hand, only sells actively managed funds.
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For many observers, the withdrawal of the Capital Group from its commitments at Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank is considered a bad omen. The US fund company is a renowned investor. Since the Capital Group only invests actively, i.e. always specifically selects which shares it invests in, its entry is generally considered a positive signal.
When the asset manager increased his stake in Deutsche Bank two years ago, this was a much-noticed vote of confidence in the restructuring course of CEO Christian Sewing and his chief financial officer James von Moltke. For this reason, the exit is now making many investors nervous, especially since the US hedge fund Cerberus had already parted with large parts of its involvement with the two major German banks at the beginning of the year.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are confident
However, he does not see a vote of no confidence in the management of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank in this step, said an analyst who wishes to remain anonymous. The Capital Group got involved with both German financial institutions when the success of the restructuring efforts still seemed uncertain to many market players. However, this view is now widespread and will therefore no longer lead to price jumps. However, the overall environment for European banks has now deteriorated.
This reading is supported by the fact that the Capital Group is also believed to be behind a major sale of Barclays shares at the end of March. At that time, shares worth 900 million pounds, the equivalent of 1.1 billion euros, changed hands. “That would not be a vote of no confidence in Sewing or Commerzbank boss Manfred Knof, but of course it would still not be a good sign for European bank stocks,” says the analyst.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank were confident on Tuesday despite the exit of investors. “We remain confident in our strategy, which we outlined during our investor deep dive in March,” said a spokesman for Deutsche Bank. The bank’s “focused” business model and risk management have proven their resilience in difficult times. “As we said at our Investor Day, we’ve had a promising start to the year and our goals remain unchanged.”
Commerzbank made a similar statement. “The sale of a stock holding does not change our strategy. The bank’s business model and risk management have proven themselves in challenging times,” said a spokeswoman. “As we said at Capital Markets Day, we had a promising start to the year and have raised the financial targets of our ‘Strategy 2024’.”
More: “Expensive lesson”: Cerberus’ withdrawal weighs on Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank shares