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FRANKFURT: Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest lender, said Thursday the group had booked a profit in 2021 despite significant transformation costs, as it seeks to trim its business.

The bank made a net profit of 430 million euros ($489 million) under the guidance of new CEO Manfred Knof, who took the reins in January last year after the group booked a whopping 2.9-billion-euro loss in 2020, its first since 2009.

"In the first year of the transformation, we have delivered on our promises," Knof said in a statement, adding that the bank would seek to pay a dividend to shareholders again from 2022.

Commerzbank shares fall after finance minister says govt to shed stake in future

The 2021 result came despite two billion euros in one-off costs, a fact which showed "the profit potential of our bank", chief financial officer Bettina Orlopp said in a statement.

The group's 2021 operating profit stood at 1.2 billion euros, reversing the loss of 233 million euros registered the year before.

The bank significantly reduced its risk provisions, which cover potential losses, to 570 million euros from 1.8 billion in 2020, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2021, Commerzbank sank 1.08 billion euros into its transformation, including covering the cost of employees who left the lender.

The group's restructuring programme includes plans to reduce the workforce from nearly 40,000 at the end of 2020 to 32,000 by the end of 2024.

The government still holds a stake of around 15 percent in Commerzbank which it bailed out during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the German weekly Handelsblatt on Monday that the state would not remain a shareholder in Commerzbank "in the long run".

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