EuropeFinance and Insurance

Nord/LB quits ship finance

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.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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