HSH Nordbank with strong earnings growth in the real estate sector

  • Operating profit after risk provisions up 27 percent
  • Substantial decline in risk provisioning
  • Increase in new business to EUR 7.1 billion

Hamburg/Kiel, August 23, 2007 - In the first half of 2007, HSH Nordbank AG’s real estate segment generated operating profit after risk provisions of EUR 145 million, an increase of 27 percent over the same period one year earlier. Net interest and commission income rose 7 percent to EUR 250 million in the same period despite the difficult conditions underlying the market. At just under EUR 13 million, risk provisions dropped to an encouragingly low level (previous year: EUR 42 million). The pre-tax return on equity widened appreciably from 18.2 percent to 22.3 percent.

“After a subdued start to the year, finance business picked up substantially in the second quarter, although the pressure on margins continued due to the intensive competition,” said Peter Rieck, deputy CEO of HSH Nordbank AG and responsible for the real estate business. “Thanks to our structuring skills, we were again able to assist important real estate investors in complex cross-border transactions.”

“The good conditions prevailing on the global real estate market bolstered the gratifying growth in our finance business, allowing us to appreciably reinforce our market position as a potent international provider of real estate finance in the first half of the year,” he added. HSH Nordbank serves commercial real estate clients on the German and international property markets, primarily investors in commercial and residential real estate, fund companies, listed real estate companies, project developers and housing companies.

Further expansion of new business in the first half of 2007 With new lending commitments of EUR 7.1 billion, the good year-ago figure of EUR 6.5 billion was exceeded. In the first half of 2005, new business had been valued at EUR 3.2 billion. The bulk of new real estate business was executed outside Germany. This includes EUR 2.5 billion in the United States, where new business received a strong boost from the booming investment market. New lending commitments in the U.K. amounted to more than EUR 1.2 billion. At nearly EUR 1 billion, new business in the Nordic region was also brisk, while financing business in the Netherlands came to an encouraging EUR 500 million.

Balanced real estate loan portfolio HSH Nordbank’s entire portfolio of business with real estate clients was valued at EUR 26.2 billion at the end of June 2007, up from EUR 24.3 billion in June 2006. Of this, more than half (53%) or just under EUR 14 billion comprised foreign finance for real estate in leading cities in Europe and the U.S. (first half of 2006: EUR 10 billion, share of foreign business 41%) The real estate loan portfolio is thus characterized by broad international diversification.

In order to extend the range of finance tools, a platform for establishing and managing a portfolio of subordinated real estate loans has been created. These slices are to be securitized and placed on the capital market via a real estate mezzanine fund. With the acquisition of a 50 percent state in US Treuhand effective June 1, 2007, the Bank’s real estate subsidiary HSH Real Estate has broadened its international footprint as a fund initiator. In this way, HGA Capital and US Treuhand have emerged as the joint number two in closed-end real estate funds in terms of capital placements. The consulting business continued to perform well in the first half of the year. To illustrate, HSH Real Estate did the consulting work on the purchase of the housing company BauBeCon and on the sale of an office property portfolio owned by the Robert Vogel company.

In the project development segment, HSH Real Estate is involved in two projects in the “Bavaria Quartier” in Hamburg, namely the “Bavaria Office” and the “Atlantic Haus”. It is the owner, builder and project manager of the “Bavaria Office”, which is currently under construction. The second project, the “Atlantic Haus” office building was recently sold by HSH Real Estate to the UBS Wealth Management CEPF fund.

“Looking forward to the remaining part of the year, we continue to expect brisk new lending business. However, the intensive competition with domestic and foreign banks will keep the pressure stoked on margins, although they are not likely to contract any further given the heightened risk sensitivity in the market,” said Rieck, commenting on the outlook for the second half of the year. “In 2008, we expect the international investment boom to weaken slightly, although demand for real estate will remain at a high level," he added.

HSH Nordbank AG is a strong regional bank in Northern Europe with total assets of € 205 billion. Some 4,500 of the bank’s employees provide corporate and high net-worth clients around the globe with premium bank products and services. In its core region of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, it is the market leader in the corporate customer segment. HSH Nordbank is an acknowledged partner of the capital markets and international sector specialist. Its main focus is on transportation and real estate. In fact, HSH Nordbank is the world’s largest provider of ship finance and covers the entire value chain in the transportation segment. In the area of real estate, HSH Nordbank is one of the strongest banks in Germany, acting as a provider of services relating to all aspects of real estate. For more information please visit our website at www.hsh-nordbank.com.

The information contained in this press release does not constitute an offer for the sale of any type of Hamburg Commercial Bank AG securities. Securities of Hamburg Commercial Bank AG may not be sold in the United States without registration pursuant to US securities legislation, unless such a sale takes place on the basis of relevant exceptional provisions.

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