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HSH Nordbank AG Officially Privatized

Shipping lender HSH Nordbank AG has become the first successfully privatized state-owned bank, Landesbank, in Germany.

The commercial bank’s new shareholders are Cerberus Capital Management, J. C. Flowers & Co., GoldenTree Asset Management, Centaurus Capital LP and BAWAG or investment funds launched by these.

The bank confirmed today that the sale of all indirectly held shares (94.9 percent in total), previously owned by the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, which was agreed on 28 Februaryhas been formally closed.

At the same time, the new shareholders acquire the remaining 5.1 percent and now hold 100 percent of the shares in HSH Nordbank AG.

“This successful switch from public-sector to exclusively private-sector shareholders is genuinely new territory in the German banking sector and marks the beginning of a new era for our bank,” said Stefan Ermisch, CEO of HSH Nordbank.

“For us, this successful privatisation is both affirmation and motivation, and we shall now focus all our energy on the new era. We will become a medium-sized, Hamburg-based commercial bank for Germany with a pronounced client orientation and we are ready to make a new start.”

Subject to the usual committee consultations, and after entry in the commercial register, the bank is expected to operate under the name Hamburg Commercial Bank AG from next February.

By the end of 2021, the bank aims to have a pre-tax return on equity of at least 8 percent, as well as an 15-percent or higher CET1 ratio and a maximum 40-percent cost/income ratio.

As explained, this is required in order to ensure the seamless transition into the voluntary deposit protection fund of the Association of German Banks (BdB).

The bank plans to continue to operate its core business areas, but with a sharper focus and a generally more selective and efficient use of its resources. At the same time, the bank has set sights on international expansion of its real estate and renewable energies financing business.

“With the now completed change of ownership the first-stage goal has been reached. We still have a long road ahead of us. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this oversight committee to support the Management Board in successfully realising our business strategy,” Designated Chairman of the Supervisory Board is Juan Rodriguez Inciarte, said.