Sale of German Portigon unit put on ice -politician

DUESSELDORF, Germany, June 26 Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:54pm EDT

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DUESSELDORF, Germany, June 26 (Reuters) - Portigon AG , the successor institute of broken-up German state bank WestLB, will hold off on the sale of its financial services unit because of an unfavourable market environment, a German state politician said on Thursday.

The finance minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Norbert Walter-Borjans, told the state's parliament that the divestment would be postponed, without saying when efforts to sell the business would be resumed.

Portigon's predecessor WestLB was bailed out by its public-sector owners after a series of trading scandals and losses. The European Commission approved the bailout only under strict conditions.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which owns Portigon, is under time pressure because the EU Commission has demanded that the Portigon Financial Services unit, which specialises in dealing with bad bank assets, be sold or possibly wound down by 2016.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi, writing by Ludwig Burger; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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