A group of London investment bankers today won their High Court battle to receive a total of €50m in unpaid bonuses.
The 104 individual claims were brought by former employees of Dresdner Kleinwort Limited against the company and its new owner Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank.
The claims ranged from €15,000 to €2m.
"I have come to the conclusion that the claimants are entitled to payment of bonuses provisionally awarded to them," said judge Robert Owen.
The bankers claimed that Commerzbank had reneged on a deal to pay the bonuses promised to them by Dresdner before the takeover in 2008.
Their lawyers had claimed the bonuses for 2008 should have been paid due to "binding and enforceable contractual promises".
"We are disappointed with the court's decision and will seek leave to appeal,'' a Commerzbank spokesman said.
"The bank believes that the decision to reduce discretionary bonuses in light of €6.5 billion of losses at Dresdner Kleinwort for 2008 was responsible and justified," he added.
The main argument had revolved around whether a previous announcement of bonuses amounted to a legally-binding agreement, the statement said.
"It is the bank's submission that there is every prospect that the Court of Appeal would come to a different view on this matter," the Commerzbank spokesman said
Earlier, Commerzbank said its first quarter net profits plunged 62.5% to €369m, but it signalled that it was well placed to deal with difficult market conditions.
Revenues before loan loss provisions were also down to €2.585 billion from €3.616 billion a year ago.
The drop was mostly due to a high comparison base from in 2011 when numbers were inflated by a one-off item, Germany's second biggest private lender said.
Provisions for losses from loans also fell by about a third to €212m from €318m, due to the robust German economy and the reduction of risk in commercial property financing.
Commerzbank said uncertainty arising from the European debt crisis continues to "pose a challenge" to its revenues.
"But the Core Bank still is well positioned even in a difficult market environment thanks to its customer-centric business model," said its chief financial officer Stephan Engels.