Japan’s Sumitomo Is Said in Talks to Buy ABN Amro’s Commodity Loans
(Bloomberg) -- Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. is in talks to buy a portfolio of commodity loans from ABN Amro NV as the Dutch lender exits the industry, according to people familiar with the matter.
A potential deal would see the Japanese lender take over ABN’s long-term loans, which extend past the end of the year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. For the Dutch bank, it could also mean an earlier-than-planned exit from the commodity trade finance business.
ABN Amro, once a key lender to the commodities industry, last year said it was going to leave the business after racking up losses from a series of trading scandals. At the time, then Chief Financial Officer Clifford Abrahams said the bank would let existing loans wind down over the next three to four years.
Talks over the deal are still ongoing, and no final agreement has been reached, the people said.
Sumitomo and ABN Amro declined to comment on the talks.
A deal with Sumitomo would help buoy commodity traders with more loan opportunities. Cheap credit lines in the industry, used to finance everything from oil to metals and crops, have dried up after several European banks announced they would be exit or retrench.
France’s BNP Paribas shut down its Geneva operations, and Societe Generale SA has said it’s closing its Singapore commodity trade lending unit. Dutch lender Rabobank Group said it’s shutting commodity lending offices in London, Shanghai and Sydney, while ING Groep NV combined its structured commodity finance operations in Geneva and Asia into its trade and commodity finance business.
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