Germany's HSH Nordbank, the world's largest shipping bank, reported its first quarterly operating profit for almost two years and reaffirmed its goal of booking an annual profit in 2011.
The publicly owned bank, which was bailed out by shareholders in 2009, said second quarter earnings before restructuring costs totaled $76.8 million against a year-earlier loss of $341.8 million.
This narrowed first half losses to $141 million from $484 million in the three months to June 30.
The Hamburg-based bank's first half net loss shrunk to $486 million from $792 million in the same period in 2009.
"In the second quarter, the bank generated a positive earnings result in operating terms, i.e. before guarantee costs, for the first time in seven quarters," CEO Dirk Jens Nonnenmacher said in a statement.
"We reaffirm our goal of taking the bank back into profit territory in 2011," Nonnenmacher said.
HSH has a shipping portfolio valued at around $38 billion, of which 40 percent is accounted for by container ships, but it has been reducing its exposure to the sector.
The bank received a $3.85 billion capital injection from its shareholders, the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, in 2009 topped up by $12.8 billion of loan guarantees after it was hit by a wave of non-performing loans during the global financial crisis.
HSH is a member of the Albert Ballin consortium which has a 56.7 percent stake in German ocean container carrier Hapag-Lloyd. It also participated with German container ship charter owners in the rescue of Chilean carrier CSAV in 2009.
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