The Royal Bank of Scotland has received bids for its Greek ship finance business, following an increase in bad shipping debts at the lender over the past few months, Reuters reports.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Credit Suisse and China Merchants were among the suitors bidding.
The source said the business was worth about $3bn, however, the downturn in the shipping industry would affect the sale value.
“RBS has held preliminary discussions with a number of interested parties,” one source told Reuters. “The big difference here is they are not selling a portfolio of loans but a business, with staff in it able to do the debt collection stuff.”
RBS is now in the middle of a restructuring aimed at returning the bank to profit after eight straight years of losses. It put its shipping loans portfolio up for sale in 2015.
Credit Suisse has elbowed RBS out the way into top place for Greek ship finance, according to a survey from Petrofin Research earlier this year.
While Credit Suisse saw its Greek portfolio grow 13.53% last year, RBS, which has made clear its intention to cut back from financing ships, saw a 13.58% reversal. This is the first time RBS has not been in top spot since Petrofin began its annual survey more than a decade ago.