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Business

Berlin Paves Way for Bank Privatization

The city-state authorities of Berlin are set to modify the statutes of the local savings bank, the Berliner Sparkasse, with a view to a possible privatization, the first such move in the country, a spokesman said on Tuesday. A draft law modifying the statutes of the regional public sector

Landesbank Berlin, which owns the Berliner Sparkasse, is to go before the regional parliament on Thursday, a spokesman for Berlin's Senate said. The law envisages transforming the Landesbank Berlin, formerly Bankgesellschaft Berlin, into a joint stock company in preparation for a sale to a public or a private investor, as demanded by the European Commission in Brussels. The commission has demanded the regional public-sector bank be sold, in return for turning a blind eye to the rescue of the bank using public money two years ago. If the Landesbank were to be sold to a private investor, the buyer would find itself the owner of the leading high-street bank in the region, the spokesman said. If the draft law is approved, it will be a first in Germany, where a number of attempts to privatize the public-sector Sparkassen have so far failed.

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