Over a year since the sale process was launched, the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have reached an agreement to sell HSH Nordbank, making it the first privatisation of a federal state bank in Germany.
The bank has been sold to a group of private shareholders including investment firms Cerberus European Investments, J. C. Flowers & Co., GoldenTree Asset Management, Centaurus Capital LP and BAWAG.
Stefan Ermisch, chief executive officer of HSH Nordbank, commented: “This is the start of a new era for our bank – our future owners are among the world’s most experienced financial investors in the banking sector, particularly in Germany and continental Europe. This will open up new opportunities for us to compete in the market without any current EU restrictions. Also on behalf of all the employees, today I extend our thanks to the existing owners for this successful privatisation. The change of ownership offers good prospects for the bank, our employees, customers and the economic development of our home region.”
The deal is subject to various approvals, including those from the European Commission and the state parliaments in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, although it expected to close during the second or third quarter of 2018.
The transaction price of around €1bn ($1.22bn) covers a 94.9% stake in the bank, while J. C. Flowers already holds a 5% stake which it acquired in 2006.