BayernLB abandons merger talks with WestLB

Bavaria's regional bank BayernLB said on Thursday it would abandon a merger with counterpart WestLB because the deal would not lead to higher profits.

BayernLB abandons merger talks with WestLB
Photo: DPA

Both institutions, state-backed banks known as Landesbanken, were slammed by the global financial crisis and had sought a merger since late September.

But BayernLB said in a statement that “the economic benefits of a tie up compared to the profitability of an independent BayernLB do not sufficiently outweigh the typical challenges of implementing a merger of this size.

“The sole criterion for a potential merger was whether the merged bank could earn a sufficiently higher return on equity than each bank on its own,” it added.

A WestLB statement said it “notes with regret the decision to suspend the talks with immediate effect before the key issues involved have been clarified.”

WestLB sales agent Friedrich Merz said the bank “will continue to explore the possible options for a merger” within the context of a consolidation of the Landebanken sector.

WestLB agreed in May 2009 to cut its assets in half after a public bailout, and regional officials have mooted a tie-up with Hessian counterpart Helaba and a third, publicly-owned bank.


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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.