DekaBank rules out closing troubled real estate funds (DE)

DekaBank has no plans to close its underperforming real estate funds to new investors, interim chief executive Fritz Oelrich said. "Closing the funds was not and is not being discussed," he told journalists during DekaBank's annual news conference.

In 2004, about €2.7 bln worth of shares in the funds were returned by disgruntled customers, of which DekaBank took about €1.7 bln worth into its own stock.

The bank also announced its chief executive Axel Weber - who has been under fire in the past few months for his management of the real estate funds crisis - has resigned on his own wishes.

The resignation also comes three months after the German media reported Frankfurt's public prosecutors have uncovered evidence of bribery linked to real estate properties, and that Deka and Deutsche Bank AG's property arm are at the heart of the investigation.

"Weber is in no way connected to the real estate scandal," Oelrich emphasised today. "And there is no new information pointing to dubious actions by DekaBank employees."

To strengthen its troubled real estate funds unit DekaImmobilienFonds, DekaBank yesterday bought an office building in Frankfurt, Skyper, for €472 mln from the unit.

DekaBank, which serves as fund management and wholesale bank of the German savings banks, is also planning another major real estate sale in Germany and hopes to divest a partial portfolio of underperforming real estate assets worth €0.7-1.0 bln.

The company earlier this year sold a shopping center in Glasgow and the Lloyds of London insurance tower in London for a total of about €720 mln.

DekaBank also said today it posted €408 mln full-year 2004 operating profit, down from €438 mln a year earlier.

Source: Deka Bank/Freeman News

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