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HSH Nordbank may scrap seized ships with no buyers

HSH Nordbank may scrap seized ships with no buyers
HSH Nordbank has signalled an intention to scrap dozens of ships seized from indebted clients, if the shipping bank fails to sell them, a news report said.

Rune Hoffmann, a spokesman for HSH Nordbank, told Bloomberg that potentially 30 to 40 of the 1,100 vessels in the restructuring unit might be affected.

“If a ship is no longer supported by its owners and we don't find a buyer, then an insolvency or scrapping of the vessel may become the last option,” Hoffmann was quoted as saying.

HSH Nordbank is seeking to reduce its non-performing loans on its balance sheet. The sluggish business atmosphere in the global shipping market has caused some of the bank's clients to struggle with paying back their debts.

The bank's shipping loans totalled EUR25bn ($33.8bn), of which EUR9bn are part of the restructuring unit established in 2009, according to Wolfgang Topp, head of operations at the bank. About 15% or around 165 of 1,100 vessels in the unit are not salvageable, while the remaining 85% may be restructured, he revealed last month.

In April this year, HSH Nordbank sold 10 ships comprising of five tankers and five boxships to Greek shipping firm Navios Group, allowing the bank to reduce its stock of bad loans. Navios paid $130m in cash and took a 10-year loan of $170m to acquire the 10 ships.