BERLIN (Reuters) - The German finance ministry said on Thursday it was not under time pressure to sell its stake in Commerzbank (CBKG.DE), the country’s second-largest bank.
“Our position on Commerzbank was and is unchanged. We’re not under time pressure. We want to achieve a good economic result for taxpayers,” a spokesman for the ministry said.
Die Welt newspaper reported earlier on Thursday that the German government had no plans to sell its stake in the bank at the moment.
“We definitely do not plan to sell,” it quoted the unnamed official as saying. “The losses would be too high.”
The German government is the bank’s largest shareholder and owns about 15 percent of its shares, now trading at 11.70 euros. To ensure a profit, the shares would have to increase by more than 50 percent.
Speculation about a possible sale of the German government’s stake has been rife in recent weeks, with French bank Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA), France’s BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Italy’s Unicredit (CRDI.MI) mentioned as potential buyers.
In September, a finance ministry spokesman said the government did not want to keep its stake in the bank “forever”, but wanted a good result.
Commerzbank, which posted a second-quarter loss related to restructuring costs and a weak market, is focused on digitising its back office, cutting staff, and growing its retail customer base.
Reporting by Michelle Martin, Hans Seidenstücker and Rene Wagner; Editing by Andrea Shalal and David Evans