Berlin has waved through a draft law paving the way for Hypo Real Estate to be nationalised, in turn triggering the forced sale of a minority stake held by JC Flowers, Grove International and Japan’s Shinsei bank. The law could be approved on 3 April.
According to the Financial Times, Peer Steinbruck, Germany’s finance minister, said that Berlin could “ very quickly call in a shareholders’ meeting” to give investors a last chance to voluntarily cede control. He said the use of government powers depends solely on the shareholders’ behaviour at the meeting.
The consortium led by Flowers took a €1 billion stake in Hypo in 2008. Since then, Hypo has received tens of billions of euros of bail-out money to stave off total collapse.
Its troubles stem from its failure to meet repayments of debt taken on for the 2007 acquisition of the Dublin-based infrastructure and public projects lender Depfa Bank for €5.7 billion. Last October, Hypo was forced to approach the German government for a €35 billion lifeline to cover its short term cash position and has received subsequent payments topping €100 billion.