Another famous name in German ship finance is exiting the sector. Nord/LB Norddeutsche Landesbank has made clear the “painful” bad loans it had extended to shipping clients are set to be put in the past as it focuses on other sectors. It reported a net loss last year of EUR2.35bn on the back of its shipping exposure.
“Such a heavy loss for 2018 is painful,” commented Thomas Bürkle, CEO of Nord/LB in a release yesterday. “But ridding ourselves of bad loans from ship financing will give us a new start. We now have clarity regarding the bank’s future path. We will combine the strengths Nord/LB is known for as a financier of SMEs with particular expertise in structured financing.”
Rather than its former shipping heritage, Nord/LB will focus on energy, infrastructure, property and aircraft going forward.
Bürkle revealed yesterday the restructured bank would be far smaller, saying: “The new Nord/LB will not only have less risk and become more regionally focussed, it will also be much smaller.”
Once the world’s predominant shipping lenders, most German banks have over the past five years abandoned ship finance to write off tens of billions of nonperforming loans.