BERLIN, Jan 8 (Reuters) - German shipping finance provider HSH Nordbank sees a good chance of finding a buyer, its finance chief said.
“Despite the difficult market environment, we have very good prospects of selling the bank,” Oliver Gatzke told the Boersen Zeitung newspaper.
HSH Nordbank met potential buyers in London in November ahead of the German lender’s planned privatisation this year, people close to the matter told Reuters.
HSH’s owners - the northern German states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg jointly hold 85 percent - have to privatise the bank by the end of February 2018 and have mandated Citi to organise the process, due to start in early 2017.
HSH, which had total assets of 90 billion euros ($95 billion) and posted a profit of 160 million euros as of June, sought backing from its owners after risky assets turned sour in 2008, and it got hit further by the slump in global trade after the financial crisis.
The EU Commission, HSH and its owners negotiated for years over a plan to restore HSH to health and avoid future state aid.
Gatzke said he could not imagine the bank would have to be wound up, as the EU Commission demands in case no buyer is found.
“We sense a lot of interest and are very optimistic that we will reach a big circle of investors, who will make expressions of interests at the start of February,” he said.
HSH is eyeing European and Asian banks as possible buyers and Gatzke said the company was also speaking to specialised investors, who concentrate on private equity and debt funds.
$1 = 0.9499 euros Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mark Potter