Dresdner advance defies recession

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DRESDNER Bank managed to increase profits in 1993 despite the German recession by exploiting its expertise in derivatives, with big increases in brokerage business and trading on its own account.

Dresdner increased its pre-tax profits by 10.3 per cent to DM1.065bn ( pounds 420m) in 1993 from DM966bn a year earlier. Group earnings after provisions against bad debts rose even faster, by a quarter to DM2.04bn.

Analysts had expected a 16 per cent rise in earnings.

As with Deutsche Bank's recent results, Dresdner has been able to offset steep increases in its domestic provisions by big increases from its financial markets activities.

The group's provisions against loan losses increased by nearly half to DM1.771bn from DM1.207bn in 1992.

Dresdner attributed part of the rise to protective measures taken to shield the bank from Metallgesellschaft, the German metals and mining group that skirted bankruptcy late last year. Dresdner was Metallgesellschaft's second largest shareholder.

'Like the other German banks up to now, Dresdner reported stronger-than-expected earnings growth,' said Annette Mueller, banking analyst at DG Bank in Frankfurt.

Net commission income leapt 28.6 per cent in the year to DM3.16bn. Pre-tax profit from own-account trading more than doubled to DM650m from DM292m in 1992.

Although Dresdner Bank lags behind Deutsche Bank in terms of derivatives trading volume, it is still considered the German market leader in that segment - a position that it capitalised on to build volume in commissions and in its own-account trading, Ms Mueller said.

In its annual report, Dresdner said the nominal value of its derivatives business had reached DM602bn by the end of 1993 compared with DM559bn at the end of 1992.

The bank said that the year-end derivatives business corresponded to a credit-risk equivalent of DM3.7bn, or 1.7 per cent of its total risks.