Orix agrees to buy $290 mln of RBS shipping loans -sources


Japanese financial services firm Orix Corp has agreed to buy $290 million worth of shipping loans from Royal Bank of Scotland, sources with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters on Friday.

RBS, which is more than 70 percent state-owned, is still in the throes of a restructuring, which includes asset sales, job cuts and tackling multi-billion dollar charges to settle litigation and pay regulatory fines for past misconduct.

Reuters reported last month the British bank was close to selling at least $600 million worth of shipping loans to financial institutions including Orix.

Most of the loans Orix is buying from RBS are of investment grade and made to Greek borrowers, said the sources, who were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

An Orix spokesman declined to comment. RBS officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

RBS initially tried to sell its entire Greek shipping business, which was valued at $3 billion at the time and held talks with Orix. They could not reach an agreement.

European banks, major lenders to the shipping industry, have been reducing exposure to the sector amid stricter banking rules and a weak shipping market.

Orix sees the situation as presenting an opportunity to cheaply buy loans made to healthy borrowers, sources said, adding that the firm was already in similar talks with other lenders to the shipping sector.

Source: Reuters

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