GERMANY - German real estate bank Aareal says new commitments rose 23% in the first nine months of the year to €5bn - and losses narrowed.

The Wiesbaden-based outfit said: "A rise of 59.8% was posted over the third quarter of 2004 alone."

The consolidated net loss for the first nine months - after taxes and minority interest income - was €84m, down from a loss of €115m in the 2004 period.

And it added that former 51 year-old Thomas Cook chief financial officer Norbert Kickum would join as international and domestic markets chief on November 14. The appointment was announced in August.

"The significant growth in new business, combined with broad international diversification, reflects the solid position of our domestic and international distribution network in the property markets we cover," said management board chairman Wolf Schumacher.

"With Mr Kickum's appointment, the bank has gained a seasoned expert with international experience, who will expedite the new sales strategy and give fresh momentum to the bank's target business in Germany and abroad."

Aareal as reviewed its credit portfolio and revalued its exposures, it said.

Net interest income fell 5% to €307m with loan loss provisions at €249m.