FRANKFURT, June 3 The European Commission will
likely decide by early 2015 whether the bailout of German lender
HSH Nordbank complied with state aid rules, one of its
public-sector owners said.
"The outcome of the proceedings will essentially depend on
the viability of HSH's business model," Monika Heinold, finance
minister of the German state Schleswig-Holstein said. "Despite
all reservations I am cautiously optimistic that it will prove
it has one."
In June 2013, the European Commission gave temporary
approval to a total of 10 billion euros ($13.6 billion) in state
aid to the so-called landesbank from its majority shareholders.
As part of an earlier bailout approval - HSH in 2013 gave
back some state guarantees but later asked for an increase to
the original 10 billion - the European Commission had ordered
HSH to sell some activities and drastically reduce its balance
Schleswig-Holstein and the city of Hamburg together own 85.4
percent of HSH, while local savings banks own 5.3 percent and
investor J.C. Flowers holds 9.3 percent.
HSH is expecting to post pretax earnings of more than 200
million euros in the first quarter, up from 71 million euros in
the year-earlier period, Heinold told Reuters.
"HSH is well prepared for the European Central Bank's asset
quality review and the stress test that the ECB and the European
Banking Authority are carrying out at the 124 most important
European lenders," Heinold said.
($1 = 0.7349 Euros)
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; writing by Arno Schuetze)