BERLIN, March 23 (Reuters) - NordLB’s owners are looking at all options to bolster the stricken German state-backed lender’s balance sheet, including asking private investors to step in, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The bank and its majority owner, the German state of Lower Saxony, said they were reviewing a wide range of options, adding there were no preferences and no decisions had been made.
However, a spokesman for Lower Saxony’s Finance Ministry said a complete sale was out of the question. “The owners stand by the bank,” she said.
German magazine Der Spiegel had first reported that NordLB was looking for investors.
NordLB last year posted a record loss of 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) weighed down by its 9 billion euro shipping portfolio. Lower Saxony holds 59 percent of the bank, with the state of Saxony-Anhalt and other municipally-owned savings banks owning the rest.
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 = 0.8098 euros) (Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Alexander Smith)