EU firm on sale deadline of German Portigon unit -politician
DUESSELDORF, Germany, Sept 19
DUESSELDORF, Germany, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The European Commission is unlikely to budge in its demand that German financial service provider Portigon AG sell a unit dealing with bad bank assets by 2016, a German state politician said on Thursday.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia made his expectation of a sale clear in recent talks, North Rhine-Westphalia's finance minister Norbert Walter-Borjans told the state's parliament.
"Almunia's readiness to soften the deadline for the sale is limited," Walter-Borjans said.
Portigon is the successor business of former state-backed lender WestLB, which was broken up after a series of trading scandals and losses led to repeated bailouts by its owners.
Portigon has recast itself as a servicer of complex financial portfolios and is still in the process of establishing the bad bank asset specialist, Portigon Financial Services (PFS), which the Commission has demanded be sold.
Walter-Borjans said the 2016 sale deadline was a hindrance to the search for potential customers, who had raised questions about the medium and long-term perspective for the business. (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi, writing by Jonathan Gould; editing by David Evans)
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