By Thomas Atkins
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank will emerge from its painful restructuring plan well-positioned to lead consolidation in Europe after 2015, its two chief executives said on Wednesday.
Seeking to reassure investors after posting a surprise quarterly loss, co-Chief Executives Jain and Juergen Fitschen said Germany's flagship lender was on track to meet its ambitious restructuring and profitability targets set for next year.
"We are fully aware of the enormous challenge we have set ourselves. This will also entail some painful changes," Fitschen told reporters at the bank's annual news conference.
Germany's biggest bank, under attack from regulators and politicians over its culture and litigation issues, predicted a tough 2014 after revealing a 1.15 billion euro ($1.56 billion) loss for fourth-quarter due to a slump in trading income, restructuring charges and pricey legal settlements.
But Jain and Fitschen sought to reassure investors that their turnaround plan was on track, saying Deutsche would complete next year ready to lead a consolidation in Europe in part due to its investment in new technology and restructuring.
"The strong platform we are building will position Deutsche Bank as a leading European consolidator post-2015," the executives said in the text of a speech. "Deutsche Bank is determined to play a leading role."
The bank has slimmed down its balance sheet but regulatory issues, such as a global investigation into alleged currency market manipulation, could mean more money has to be set aside to cover any related costs.
The bank paid around 2.1 billion euros in fines in December alone but new potential liabilities keep piling up. The forex probe and other potential problems have led analysts and investors to forecast 1.4 to 2 billion euros more in settlement costs for 2014 and 2015.
(Editing by Carmel Crimmins)