Ex-DVB boss guides suitors on bank sale

Wolfgang Driese says several prospective buyers building interest in healthy portion of DVB's shipping portfolio.

A restructuring firm headed by the former leader of Germany’s DVB Bank is working with “several” potential buyers of the bank’s performing-loan shipping portfolio, TradeWinds has learned.

Former DVB chief executive and chairman Wolfgang Driese said in an interview that his DC Maritime Partners has interested clients as the issue of DVB’s disposal continues to escalate.

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“They are both people we have approached and people who have reached out to us,” Driese said on the sidelines of a Capital Link Forum.

The former DVB chief declined to identify the potential suitors, but did say none are from Asia.

Reuters reported last month that Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are among those evaluating a potential purchase of DVB from its parent, DZ bank.

In an interesting juxtaposition, DVB managing director Martin Van Tuijl was seated on a Capital Link banking panel next to ICBC Leasing executive Bill Guo.

Both men declined comment on the DVB scenario and ICBC’s potential interest following their appearances.

DZ confirmed on 27 February that it was considering “all options” with respect to DVB after shipping loan provisions reached $970m and put a drag on the German lender’s 2017 profits.

Driese told TradeWinds he was personally “saddened” by recent developments and considered DZ’s course “an overreaction” to the results of a bank operating in cyclical markets.

It will be difficult to find a buyer that is able or willing to swallow DVB whole, Driese suggested, creating the possibility that separate businesses such as aircraft and transportation could be sold off to different buyers.

With respect to shipping, Driese said he was confident that the bank’s brand remained intact and was still a viable presence in the market “because of the strength of its people.”

However, he is steering clients away from the non-performing portion of the shipping portfolio and recommending they consider the performing section only.

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“The difficult thing is that 18 months or two years from now, it is likely that DVB is gone,” he said.

Driese also indicates he has had no expressions of interest in DVB’s portfolio of loans in the offshore industry, which is in the region of $2.5bn.

DVB finances ships, aircraft, offshore equipment and rail. The sales process is still said to be in early days.

As TradeWinds has reported, Driese has teamed up with another former DVB executive, Evan Cohen, to form DC Maritime, which has been working on solutions in the restructuring field since 2016.