FRANKFURT, April 22 Troubled German regional
lender HSH said it had cut its exposure to bad shipping
loans by persuading struggling debtors to transfer ownership of
some vessels to U.S.-listed shipping company Navios.
The deal, unveiled on Monday, may provide a blueprint for
the financing of ships that are insolvent and a way for the
Hamburg-based lender to cut its 9 billion euro ($11.7
billion)portfolio of bad ship loans, which has already forced it
to seek state aid.
"We are already in talks with other ship owners, which
showed interest in this transaction", said Wolfgang Topp, who
heads up HSH Nordbank's restructuring unit.
Struggling debtors that owe HSH 300 million euros ($390
million) worth of loans have agreed to transfer ownership of 10
tankers and container ships to Navios, HSH said.
In exchange, Navios will give HSH around 130 million euros
in cash. The remainder of the debt is converted into a
participating loan that gives HSH the opportunity to recover the
original amount if the markets improve.
Navios has pledged to contribute fresh capital and operate
the ships for at least six years.
Under the deal, ship owners are released from their debt
HSH plans similar deals this year to restructure shipping
loans with a total asset volume worth more than a billion euros.
Previous efforts to restructure the loans had proven
unsuccessful, the bank said.
In total, HSH has financed 2,800 ships and has 26 billion
euros worth of shipping loans on its books. Of these loans, 9
billion euros, equivalent to 1,100 ships, have already been
transferred to its restructuring unit.