Public owners of HSH Nordbank say pleased with first bidding round

The HSH Nordbank is pictured in downtown Hamburg, October 25, 2014. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Finance ministers of the German states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein said on Sunday they were pleased with the first bidding round in the privatisation of shipping finance provider HSH Nordbank [HSH.UL], of which they jointly own 85 percent.

The bank, which was hit by risky assets turning sour in 2008 and a slump in global trade in ensuing years, has to be privatised under European state-aid rules by the end of February 2018.

On Thursday, HSH’s chief executive Stefan Ermisch said that more than 10 expressions of interest had been received. The bidding period ended on Friday.

“After a first sighting we can say - as we already said on expressions of interest - that we are very happy with the response,” Hamburg finance senator Peter Tschentscher and Schleswig-Holstein finance minister Monika Heinold said in a joint statement on Sunday.

“The states will now study the offers at hand very carefully and assess them according to the criteria laid down in the sale announcement and further instructions on the process.”

Spokesmen for the state of Hamburg and for HSH declined to give further details beyond the statement.

Reporting by Vera Eckert and Olaf Brenner, editing by Susan Fenton