Deutsche Bank sees return to profit after good start to 2009

Deutsche Bank sees return to profit after good start to 2009Frankfurt - Despite deepening economic uncertainty, Germany's biggest bank Deutsche Bank AG said Tuesday it had a good start to 2009 and could return to profit this year.

"At the time of writing, I am pleased to report that we have made a good start to 2009," Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann wrote in a letter to the bank's stockholders contained in the group's annual report.

"We are very disappointed at our loss in 2008, but absolutely determined to take all necessary measures to restore Deutsche Bank to the path of profitability," he said.

Deutsche's comments on its performance so far this year follow a series of positive comments by several of the world's biggest banks and add to the cautious optimism that the global banking sector has started to turn the corner after been badly hit by the world financial crisis and high risk investments.

Despite only limited exposure to the so-called toxic assets linked to the US mortgage meltdown, Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank announced last month a record
4.8-billion-euro (6.5 billion dollars) net loss for the final quarter of 2008 in the wake of global financial market turmoil.

The grim fourth-quarter earnings report helped to pave the way for the bank's first full-year loss since the Second World War.

Deutsche said it posted a net loss in 2008 of 3.9 billion euros after record profits of 6.5 billion euros in 2007.

Ackermann said he sees the bank returning to profitability this year but does not expect any pickup to emerge in the banking sector until 2010, with the industry still facing "very difficult conditions" in the coming months as recession tightens its grip on the world economy.

"In 2010, some degree of recovery in the banking industry is foreseeable," Ackermann said.

"If the global economy, financial markets, legal and regulatory environment, and competitive environment develop as foreseen, Deutsche Bank expects to return to profitability in 2009," he told shareholders. (dpa)