Commerzbank in talks to offload Spanish property loans -magazine

FRANKFURT Sat Feb 1, 2014 9:36am EST

FRANKFURT Feb 1 (Reuters) - Germany's Commerzbank is in talks with private equity companies Apollo and Cerberus to sell a 4 billion euro ($5.4 billion) portfolio of Spanish property loans, German weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported.

Commerzbank, Germany's second-largest lender, declined to comment. Apollo and Cerberus could not immediately be reached.

The Frankfurt-based bank is seeking to sell off the portfolios of its former mortgage unit Hypothekenbank Frankfurt International, formerly known as Eurohypo to cut its balance sheet and fulfil stricter bank safety rules known as Basel III.

In July, Commerzbank sold British property loans worth 5 billion euros to U.S. rival Wells Fargo and private equity firm Lone Star Funds.

Commerzbank's move follows similar steps by other troubled banks. Allied Irish Banks Plc and Anglo Irish Bank Corp Ltd have also sold portfolios, including billions of dollars worth of loans on U.S. properties.