NORD/LB with further expansion of business with corporate customers in Saxony-Anhalt
NORD/LB Landesbank for Saxony-Anhalt has made a successful start into 2012, further expanding its business with corporate customers in the first quarter of the year. Growth in this sphere was above average, especially in the area of residential housing. Further key business activities of NORD/LB – which in November celebrates 20 years of presence in Saxony-Anhalt – lie in agricultural banking and the financing of projects in the fields of renewable energies and public infrastructure.
The NORD/LB Group's positive development – with pre-tax earnings up by 51 percent to EUR 189 million in Q1/2012 – is thus reflected in the business trend in Saxony-Anhalt as well.
"NORD/LB is the bank for the SME sector in Saxony-Anhalt. We have a strong positioning in the regional corporate banking environment, and are aiming for further growth there in the coming years. A key element in this respect is our close collaboration with the local Sparkasse savings banks. We see no signs of any credit crunch in Saxony-Anhalt at present", said Dr. Hinrich Holm, member of the NORD/LB Managing Board, to journalists last Thursday in Magdeburg.
Jens Bullerjahn, the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt's Minister of Finance and second deputy chairman of the NORD/LB Supervisory Board explained: "Its down-to-earth business model made NORD/LB well capable of weathering the financial crisis of the past few years, and 2011 saw the Bank register an excellent result. Together with the Sparkassen, it makes a major contribution towards ensuring an adequate supply of financial resources for the economy in Saxony-Anhalt. We are very happy that we have NORD/LB here."
Residential housing and agricultural banking as value drivers
In concrete terms, NORD/LB's business with corporate customers in Saxony-Anhalt grew by 0.9 percent to EUR 1,831 million in the first three months of 2012. The Bank's residential housing business was particularly successful, with growth of 2.6 percent.
"The past few months have seen continuous growth in new corporate banking business, with the focus of our activities on utility companies, automotive suppliers and the mechanical engineering and wood processing sectors", continued Dr. Holm. "We assist the public utility companies in Saxony-Anhalt in the retendering of concession contracts for the electricity and gas networks, an area in which there are currently many cases of remunicipalisation of the supply networks. Beyond the traditional corporate financing activities we are also increasingly offering and providing advisory services in matters of financing. In doing so we are intensifying the business relationships with our SME customers even without an expansion of the loan volume."
NORD/LB runs its nationwide activities in the sphere of residential housing from Magdeburg, and 2011 saw the financing volume in Saxony-Anhalt rise by just short of 3 percent. The trend in Q1/2012 was similarly dynamic again, with growth of 2.6 percent. "We are now among Germany's top 10 financing institutions in the sector", explained Dr. Holm.
In the field of agricultural banking, NORD/LB is expanding its involvement in the financing of biogas plants, with loan portfolio growth of almost 5 percent last year. The stable trend in Q1/2012 is attributable to the large number of transactions concluded at year-end 2011, as result of which the pace of growth has been somewhat more moderate in the first months of this year. The Bank anticipates accelerated growth rates again in the further course of the year.
The reason for the slight downward trend in the financing volume (-1.4 percent in Q1/2012) in the sphere of public customers lies not only in an improved situation in terms of revenues among the municipalities, and the resultant drop in the need for loans, but also in the "STARK II" programme imposed by the state government of Saxony-Anhalt to provide support for municipalities looking to reduce their indebtedness.
NORD/LB's activities in the field of structured financing in Saxony-Anhalt have lately been marked by the financing of wind farms and public infrastructure projects. Worthy of mention in this context is the renovation of 20 schools in Magdeburg within the framework of public-private partnerships involving NORD/LB together with Sparkasse Magdeburg and Harzsparkasse. The last of four school packages in all was successfully completed in January 2012, on schedule and on budget, with the lion's share of the building measures carried out by companies based in Saxony-Anhalt.
The downward trend in business with Sparkasse savings banks and institutional customers is attributable to the current market situation, and largely explains the contraction by 1.6 percent in terms of NORD/LB's overall financing volume in Saxony-Anhalt.
The Saxony-Anhalt Investment Bank (IB) has proven and further established itself as institution of NORD/LB. "2011 saw us achieve our most successful result to date and shape the development activities for the economy, for the municipalities and in the retail banking sphere in line with the respective requirements", emphasized IB head of department Stefan Töbermann. "This year too, we can assure all our customer groups of competent, efficient advice and support with a broad spectrum of services. The demand among business enterprises for development financing is somewhat restrained, though with an upward trend in May, especially among SMEs. All in all, that is indication of a stable economic trend and growing use of relationship banks' services", is how he describes the tendencies at the current time.
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