March 6, 2018 / 11:51 AM / 12 days ago

NordLB owners in talks over business model of the German public-sector bank

HANOVER, Germany, March 6 (Reuters) - NordLB’s owners are in talks over the business model of the German public-sector bank, which has been dragged down by its exposure to the shipping industry, one of its shareholders said on Tuesday.

“We are in the midst of talks,” said Thomas Mang, the president of the savings banks of Lower Saxony, which own 26 percent of NordLB. “Due to its onerous ship loan portfolio NordLB is in a difficult state,” he added.

The German state of Lower Saxony holds 59 percent of the bank, with the state of Saxony-Anhalt and other municipally-owned savings banks owning the rest.

NordLB last year posted a record loss of 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) weighed down by its 9 billion euro shipping portfolio.

Asked whether the savings banks of Lower Saxony would participate in a capital hike if needed, Mang said that would have to be discussed among NordLB’s owners.

Peer HSH Nordbank, once the world’s largest ship financier, was sold to buyout groups last month after crippling writedowns and state bailouts triggered by the deepest sector slump on record. ($1 = 0.8087 euros) (Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Christoph Steitz)

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