Germany's Commerzbank has swung to a better-than-expected third-quarter net profit and forecast a profit for the full year, defying analysts predictions for a 2021 loss.

The quarterly results were supported by a decrease in provisions set aside to cushion the fallout from the pandemic, as well as lower costs.

Commerzbank's net profit of €403m in the third quarter compares with a loss of €60m a year earlier. Analysts had expected a profit of €253m.

Germany's second biggest lender is trying to turn over a new leaf under new chief executive Manfred Knof. It is carrying out a €2 billion restructuring involving hundreds of branch closures and 10,000 job cuts to get back on a path to profit.

"Despite the restructuring expenses, we are anticipating a positive net result for the full year," Knof said.

Before today, analysts had expected the bank to post a loss of more than €100m for 2021 and only return to profit next year. The bank posted a steep loss of €2.9 billion in 2020 due to restructuring costs.

It has been a rocky few years for Commerzbank. Merger talks with Deutsche Bank failed and it was ejected from the premier DAX index of German blue-chips.

Last year, a major investor, Cerberus, launched a campaign for change that prompted a shuffle in top leadership and the plans for steep job cuts.

Commerzbank, which is still partially owned by the state after a bailout during the financial crisis more than a decade ago, has lost about €2 billion from 2009 up to last year.