Commerzbank holds out talks offer to Dresdner

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The Independent Online

Commerzbank, Germany's fifth-largest bank, yesterday made a public offer of talks to Dresdner Bank which is battling to get its house in order after the collapse of a 30bn euro merger with its rival Deutsche Bank.

Martin Kohlhaussen, Commerzbank's chief executive, said yesterday he "would not exclude that Dresdner is a good match", although officials from both banks denied the statement mean the banks were in talks.

The remarks nevertheless added to the intense pressure on Dresdner Bank. Allianz, the prime mover in the Deutsche deal, has made it clear that it is still looking to sell its 22 per cent stake in Dresdner. Frankfurt banking circles say Commerzbank had conversations with Dresdner earlier in the year.

Dresdner, meanwhile, yesterday confirmed the departure of Gerd Häusler, chairman of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, the investment bank, and his replacement by Leonhard Fischer, 37, who joined the bank in 1995 from JP Morgan. The flight of talent continued with Guillaume Bonpun defecting to Merrill Lynch.

The bank also confirmed that three other management board members are departing.