FRANKFURT, May 28 (Reuters) - German public sector bank NordLB saw net profit jump 70 percent in the first quarter as commission and lending income rose and as a one-off accounting gain boosted results.
The regional bank, one of the world's largest shipping lenders, witnessed a turnaround in its shipping unit, earning 23 million euros compared to a pretax loss of 72 million euros a year earlier, the bank said in a statement on Thursday.
It was its first profit on shipping since 2012, and the results bode well for rivals like HSH Nordbank and Commerzbank AG which also have large shipping portfolios.
NordLB booked net profit of 156 million euros, up from 64 million a year earlier.
The bank booked a one-off gain of 142 million euros due to hedge accounting, helping boost profits.
The bank took a 66 million euro hit writing down the value of its exposure to defunct Austrian lender Hypo Alpe Adria having written down more than 100 million euros in 2014.
Before the financial crisis, NordLB, like many German banks, pushed into lending to companies transporting the world's burgeoning trade in goods and raw materials, propelling Germany to the top spot in ship lending worldwide.
But the global economic downturn has crimped trade flows while the supply of ships ordered during the boom years has risen, wiping out profits shippers need to pay off loans and punching holes in the balance sheets of the banks that made them. (Reporting by Thomas Atkins; editing by Jason Neely)