Deutsche Bank a Mighty Force at Home, Expanding Around the World With PM-Germany-Banker, Bjt
FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ Deutsche Bank AG dwarfs other West German banks and had embarked on an ambitious and determined drive to expand abroad under the chairmanship of Alfred Herrhausen.
With assets of $169 billion at the end of 1988, Deutsche Bank was a third larger than West Germany’s second biggest financial institution, Dresdner Bank.
Under Herrhausen, the Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank has been expanding aggressively in Western Europe, preparing for a leading role as the Common Market moves toward a barrier-free internal market of 1992.
Efforts to gain a foothold in investment banking culminated earlier this week in the $640 million takeover bid for the British investment bank Morgan Grenfell Group PLC.
Deutsche Bank has also acquired major operating interests in Spain and Italy, and was one of the first West German companies to be quoted on the Tokyo stock exchange. It is also expanding operations in the United States.
On the basis of its assets, Deutsche Bank is rated No. 20 in size in the world, but with more than 1,600 branches worldwide, and with plans for expanding into a quickly reforming Eastern Europe, the bank’s status is almost certain to surge higher.
Analysts said Herrhausen’s death Thursday was not likely to affect the bank’s future.
″The bank isn’t without management suddenly, it isn’t directionless,″ said Uwe Zeitler, a banking analyst with the Duesseldorf brokerage Trinkhaus and Burkhardt.
Thomas Albrecht, an analyst with London’s UBS Phillips and Drew brokerage unit, said: ″Deutsche Bank is not without a head, but it’ll be without a brilliant voice for a while.″
Herrhausen served as co-chairman of Deutsche Bank with F. Wilhelm Christians from 1985 through 1988, when Christians retired, leaving Herrhausen the lone chief.
Herrhausen served as a personal adviser to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and recently accompanied Kohl on his trip to Poland to discuss West German aid for Warsaw’s non-communist government.
The slain bank chairman had a clear vision of seizing opportunities presented by reforms in Eastern Europe. Earlier this month, he told the Wall Street Journal: ″We (Deutsche Bank) are almost destined to play the role of a bridge between the Western partof Europe and the Eastern part of Europe.″
At home, the bank is moving into the life insurance business and under Herrhausen aggressively pursued new areas of business.
Deutsche Bank officials serve as board members of hundreds of West German companies. Herrhausen was a member of the board of Daimler-Benz, maker of luxury Mercedes cars.
Herrhausen engineered Daimler-Benz’s acquisition of Messerschmitt-Boelkow- Blo hm areospace and technology corporation, making Daimler-Benz West Germany’s largest industrial conglomerate.
Deutsche Bank owns 28 percent of Daimler-Benz shares and has major stakes in many important West German companies.
Deutsche Bank was founded in 1870 by merging several smaller banks to cut Germany’s reliance on foreign financing. By the 1930s, the bank was the country’s dominant financial institution.
The bank was split up into several smaller institutions after World War II, and it was not until 1957 that a new Deutsche Bank was formed.
That move came just in time to profit from the booming years of reconstruction of West Germany, which raised itself from the rubble of war to become Europe’s biggest economy.