January 26, 2018 / 12:04 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Goldman, Barclays, SocGen interested in Commerzbank unit -Handelsblatt

(Adds response from Barclays)

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Britain’s Barclays Plc and French lender Societe Generale SA are interested in buying the Equities, Markets and Commodities (EMC) division of Germany’s Commerzbank AG, Handelsblatt reported on Thursday.

The EMC unit includes Commerzbank's exchange traded funds (ETF) portfolio which many banks have expressed interest in buying, the German newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. (bit.ly/2n8QwnI)

However, Commerzbank Chief Executive Martin Zielke wanted to sell the EMC division - which also includes equity derivatives and other market making businesses - as a single unit, according to the report.

Barclays declined to comment on the report. Goldman Sachs, Commerzbank and Societe Generale did not respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

The German bank, which is reducing its staff to 36,000 by 2020 from 43,000 at the end of 2015, has been focusing on expanding its retail customer base.

Commerzbank was hit hard by the financial crisis and received an 18 billion-euro ($22.3 billion) state bailout.

The lender had reported a 472 million-euro net profit in the third quarter, saying it was expecting a “slightly positive” net profit for full-year 2017. ($1 = 0.8072 euros)

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Cynthia Osterman

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