RBS ‘looks to sell Turkish loans in latest bid to exit shipping’
LONDON - Reuters
REUTERS photoRoyal Bank of Scotland has put its portfolio of Turkish shipping loans up for sale, in the latest move by the state-backed bank to exit this troubled sector and cut overall losses through asset sales, two sources told Reuters.
RBS, which has not made an annual profit since 2007, is restructuring under chief executive Ross McEwan and is looking to offload its entire shipping loans business to shore up its capital and avoid more losses on distressed debt.
The sources, who declined to be identified, told Reuters the bank was looking to sell between $200 million to $500 million worth of Turkish-related shipping loans.
RBS, which reported 2.05 billion pounds ($2.66 billion) of losses for the first half of 2016, declined to comment.
The British bank had been a big lender to the global shipping industry but has shrunk its balance sheet and largely retreated from non-UK lending since a 46 billion pound government bailout during the financial crisis.
The shipping industry has been through tough times since the crisis in 2008, hit by a combination of slowing demand and a glut of ships that has battered bottom lines and caused some casualties.
One source estimated the Turkish loans RBS aims to sell would have been worth double their current value at the market peak before the 2008 crisis.
The bank is also trying to sell its much larger Greek shipping business, which is valued at around $3 billion, sources told Reuters earlier this year.