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Commerzbank may tweak strategy after Deutsche Bank talks collapse

Commerzbank may tweak strategy after Deutsche Bank talks collapse
CEO of Commerzbank AG Martin Zielke and head of the supervisory board Stefan Schmittmann pose during the annual general meeting of shareholders in Wiesbaden, Germany May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski -
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WIESBADEN, Germany (Reuters) - Commerzbank may tweak its strategy following the collapse of merger talks with its larger rival Deutsche Bank, the lender's chief said on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke told shareholders that the talks with Deutsche "showed where we should possibly sharpen our strategy".

"We will be able to say more about this in the autumn," Zielke said at the bank's annual general meeting.

Commerzbank, which is still partially owned by the state after a bailout, has been focussed on cutting costs and digitising its workflow.

Profit rose sharply in 2018 from a year earlier but Zielke said profit needs to improve further.

Earlier this year, Zielke embarked on talks to tie up with Deutsche Bank. But the talks collapsed after six weeks, with the banks citing risks of doing a deal, restructuring costs and capital demands.

With Deutsche out of the picture, both Italy's UniCredit and Dutch ING Groep have expressed interest in Commerzbank, which is Germany's second-largest listed lender, sources have said.

Commerzbank's supervisory board will discuss the updated strategy in mid-September, with announcements likely in early October.

(Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Michelle Martin)

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