FRANKFURT (dpa-AFX) - According to a press report, the German government's stake in Commerzbank could increase slightly. The German government does not have to buy any new shares for this, but it is sufficient that it does not sell any securities as part of the bank's current share buyback program, wrote the "Handelsblatt". "The federal government is not participating in Commerzbank's current share buyback program," the newspaper quoted a spokeswoman for the Finance Agency, which manages the state's stake. According to financial circles, this should increase the state's stake from 15.75 percent to around 16.5 percent, the paper wrote. Commerzbank did not wish to comment on the issue when asked.

Commerzbank has been running a 600 million euro buyback program since 10 January. The repurchased shares are to be withdrawn.

The state had saved the major Frankfurt bank from collapse during the 2008/2009 financial crisis with more than 18 billion euros of taxpayers' money. Commerzbank repaid the state aid years ago, but the federal government is still the bank's largest single shareholder. According to the previous German government, the federal government would have to realize around 26 euros per share in order to end the Commerzbank commitment without a loss. On Wednesday afternoon, the share was quoted at 10.60 euros.

In contrast, the state-owned bank KfW, which holds shares in the logistics company DHL (formerly Deutsche Post) on behalf of the federal government, recently sold shares in the former Bundespost for a total of around 2.2 billion euros. This reduced the state's stake from 20.5 to 16.5 percent. In view of the budget debate and the German rail network in need of renovation, the government needs money. According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, the proceeds from the sale of the DHL shares will be used to strengthen Deutsche Bahn's equity./mar/DP/men