GERMANY - HSH Nordbank has said it is in no hurry to shed real estate loans following reports that it has found buyers for its private equity alternatives portfolio.

Spokesman Rune Hoffmann said there was "no time pressure" on the bank to sell its non-German assets despite the European Commission's insistence that it pull out of property lending outside its domestic market.

EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia in July ruled that the bank would have to reduce its assets under management to €82bn and its payroll by more than 2,120 by 2014 in return for state aid. 

As one of the conditions of the aid, due for ratification in September, the bank has already siphoned its non-German real estate lending portfolio into a separate restructuring business unit, keeping its domestic lending for a new-look real estate financing regional strategy focused on Northern Germany.

In a plan published at the end of last week, the bank said its restructuring unit, which contains all discontinued portfolios, would be wound down to €38bn by 2014.

Axa Private Equity and LGT Capital Partners are understood to have agreed to buy private equity fund holdings worth €620m from the unit, which holds shares in around 47 such funds.

"We haven't decided how to handle [the property loans portfolio] yet," said Hoffman. "We could hold on to them until they mature."

Hoffmann indicated the move had been determined by regulators, rather than by an inherent business case.

Energy and infrastructure will remain among Nordbank's core businesses.

It last week announced that it had agreed with the European Investment Bank to issue two global loans aimed at small and medium-sized enterprise investment in renewable energy.