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Commerzbank 'wants growth and acquisition'

Commerzbank's chief executive has reaffirmed his commitment to pursuing a 'growth and acquisition' strategy in order to ensure the continued expansion of Germany's second biggest financial institution.

Speaking at the bank's annual general meeting, Klaus-Peter Mueller told shareholders that he wanted to "expand in our core business, either organically or by acquisitions", citing the markets of central and eastern Europe as areas of particular importance to the bank's future expansion plans.

"Strategically, these are the most important foreign markets," said Mr Mueller.

"Our goal is to build up and focus our highly profitable business so that we can have a proportionate share of future growth in this region."

He added that Commerzbank remained confident of meeting its profit targets for 2006, despite lagging behind foreign competitors in terms of profitability.

Although looking towards other parts of Europe for its expansion opportunities, the bank has most recently submitted a bid for Berliner Bank – a small German retail lender - although details have not been released.

Mr Mueller's comments come after German prosecutors dropped money-laundering charges against him, relating to dealings with the privatisation of Russian companies in the early 1990s, citing a lack of evidence.