November 28, 2018 / 3:42 PM / 19 days ago

NordLB receives bids for stake in bank from Cerberus, Apollo - sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German public sector bank NordLB has received four binding bids from private equity groups for a stake in the bank, a source close to the matter said.

Cerberus and Apollo handed in final offers by the Wednesday deadline, while other first-round bidders such as Advent, Commerzbank and Helaba steered clear, other people familiar with the matter said.

NordLB hopes to boost its capital by about 3 billion euros (2.65 billion pounds) to cope with ship loans that have turned bad and had asked for final bids for a stake in the bank by the end of November.

NordLB said on Wednesday it would evaluate bids from external investors jointly with owners and decide on further steps as soon as possible.

Cerberus and Apollo were not immediately available for comment. It was not immediately clear who the other two bidders were.

Commerzbank walked away from bidding for a stake in NordLB because the suitor was not satisfied with the growth and synergy potential from a deal, a person close to the matter said.

Helaba’s owners could not decide on a final offer for a stake in the bank, another person had said earlier this week, while another person had said that this did not mean that Helaba had put its pens down on the subject.

Savings banks in Lower Saxony, where NordLB is based and which co-own NordLB with the German regional state, are reluctant to provide additional funds for any deal, including potential contributions to a joint liability scheme of savings banks backing Helaba, people close to the matter said.

They added that a compromise was still possible.

A deal for NordLB involving Helaba could become a precursor to consolidation among Germany’s public-sector lenders, known as landesbanks, which has been tried unsuccessfully in the past.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Michelle Martin, Douglas Busvine and David Evans

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