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In comeback, Commerzbank to join Germany's DAX blue-chip index

FILE PHOTO: Commerzbank AG annual results news conference in Frankfurt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Commerzbank will rejoin the DAX index on Feb. 27, Deutsche Boerse announced late on Friday, marking a comeback for Germany's No. 2 lender after it was removed from the club of blue-chip companies in 2018.

The return to the index comes after Commerzbank launched a major overhaul two years ago that saw thousands of job cuts and branch closures that restored profitability.

"This shows that we are on the right track with our restructuring - and spurs us on to continue with the same energy," Commerzbank AG said on Twitter in response to the announcement.

GRAPHIC: Commerzbank shares - https://www.reuters.com/graphics/COMMERZBANK-CFO/klpygkxdxpg/chart.png

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In 2018, Commerzbank, still partly owned by the German government after a bailout, was expelled from the DAX index to make room for a rising technology star, underscoring the declining fortunes of the nation's top banks.

But that star was Wirecard AG, a payments company that collapsed in 2020 after a years-long fraud was exposed, embarrassing the German government and staining the nation's reputation as a safe haven investment.

Following Wirecard's demise, Deutsche Boerse AG, which compiles the DAX index, revamped it to include 40 companies, rather than the previous 30, and made membership criteria tougher.

Since its founding in 1988, the DAX has been Germany's answer to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York and the FTSE in London, with its members forming the corporate elite in one of the world's largest economies.

Other members include Siemens AG, Volkswagen AG, and Allianz SE.

Commerzbank will replace Linde Plc, which is giving up its listing in Germany.

(Reporting by Tom Sims; editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)