Bloomberg News

Natixis Scales Back Vessel, Telecom Lending, Sells Loans in Asia

December 12, 2011

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Natixis SA, the investment-banking arm of France’s second-largest retail lender, is scaling back shipping and telecommunications financing in Asia as it focuses on global energy and commodities.

The shift is part of the bank’s aim to generate more cross- selling opportunities from its global energy and commodities business, according to De Doan Tran, global head of corporate and investment banking.

“We will concentrate on anything to do with oil and gas companies, and metal and mining,” Paris-based Doan Tran said in an interview Dec. 6. Such opportunities exist for commodity and energy clients “because they do things worldwide,” he said. “We’re not interested in banking extremely local clients that only have domestic needs.”

Scaling back structured finance will help Natixis lower its funding requirements at a time when banks worldwide face tougher liquidity and capital requirements as regulators, led by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, seek to prevent a repeat of the credit freeze sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

French banks top the list of Greek creditors with $57 billion in exposure to private and public debt at the end of March, according to the Bank for International Settlements based in Basel, Switzerland.

Natixis is also selling parts of its existing Asia lending, including some ship financing and debt related to infrastructure, Doan Tran said. Natixis is most interested in selling on loans in which it had a participation role, rather than a mandated lead arranger or bookrunner role, he said.

Risk-Weighted Assets

The bank is targeting a cut in its global risk-weighted assets by 10 billion euros ($13.4 billion), and liquidity needs by 15 billion to 20 billion euros, by the end of 2013, according to its Nov. 9 third quarter earnings presentation. Natixis is the investment-banking and asset-management unit of Groupe BPCE.

The lender will no longer finance vessels in Asia, Doan Tran said, and only fund energy projects such as oil rigs, Doan Tran said. For aircraft, it will focus on lending to larger clients, and allocate capital from telecommunications and infrastructure to focus on utilities and power, he said.

Natixis’s loan business in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan almost halved this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the No. 49 arranger, with a 0.5 percent market share, falling from No. 32 in 2010, the data show.

--Editors: Katrina Nicholas, Beth Thomas

To contact the reporter on this story: Wendy Mock in Hong Kong at wmock3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net


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