Deutsche Bank is emerging as an aggressive buyer of non-performing shipping loans in the Italian market. Sources tell Splash that the German lender has recently bought from Italian’s Banco Popolare a credit worth $38m with RBD Armatori shipping company linked to an aged panamax bulk carrier, while a further $90m credit was purchased from Commerzbank and is linked to to four ships (two tankers and two bulk carriers). Several hedge funds in the last few months were eyeing also portions of the $406m debt of shipping firm Premuda.
Deutsche Bank’s shopping campaign in Italy follows Goldman Sachs’ similar operation conducted two years ago when a purpose built vehicle bought over $200m of non-performing loans of RBD Armatori by GE Capital and Unicredit, the latter being the most exposed Italian bank in shipping.
Last summer also Royal Bank of Scotland sold a $1.7bn loan portfolio to an entity funded by Deutsche Bank and funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management for $604m in cash.
Italy’s banks are saddled with some $5bn of non-performing shipping loans and at least 15 companies (mainly the ones active in the dry bulk market) are still involved in debt restructuring processes.