DrKW - Sailing Through Calmer Waters

Staff at DrKW are now having to get used to a whole new way of life at the investment bank. Long gone are the dramatic days of takeover and merger talks. Consigned to history now is Bruce Wasserstein (did he really get $600m for his quick tenure at the firm and an agreement to leave his name at the door when he exited stage right ?). And DrKW's German insurer owner, Allianz, continues to make more positive noises about the unit. The firm is in the black and the future, conversely, looks bright.

As most of the other German banks with investment banking arms have their challenges at the moment (some clearly have more challenging issues to face than others), DrKW is sailing through relatively calm waters. Quietly going about its business, the firm continues to play to its strengths and is heading in the right direction in most of the businesses it now considers key.

Allianz appears happy that the firm is once again bringing home the bacon and DrKW is being increasingly welcomed into the now warm and more friendly Allianz corporate fold. Now, although Allianz will give no long-term commitment to its investment banking business, at least DrKW's destiny is once again more in its own hands. If the firm remains profitable and makes no waves, Allianz will no doubt stick with it.

The firm has enjoyed a good year to date and, indeed, there is no sign that things are slowing up. DrKW acted as a bookrunner on over 35 public bond transactions in September, which was the second best month this year in income terms for the bond businesses. On the M&A front, the firm has got off to an excellent start to the fourth quarter, with five significant M&A mandates making the headlines and turning heads.

Although there is no room for complacency, DrKW is no longer a firm piloting through troubled waters. The bad times appear to be a distant memory and the focus now is on the calmer, warm sunny days which many feel are here to stay for a long while yet.

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