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"RBS has tried to put this sale together for some time. In the past two quarters, conditions in shipping have got worse and that has had some effect on the portfolio," the source said. "That will mean that there will have to be some price-adjustment for whatever is on offer." Other sources said the loans could carry a 30 percent discount in order to attract interest, adding that some buyers may be interested only in parts of the business. "It depends on the level of interest and also how quick a sale they want," a ship finance source said. The bank's total shipping exposure reached 7.1 billion pounds ($10.4 billion) in the first quarter of this year, down from 7.5 billion pounds at the end of last year. Non-performing loans to the industry - those on which repayments are significantly in arrears - increased to 827 million pounds in the first quarter of this year from 434 million at the end of 2015, RBS said in its quarterly results. Reuters reported earlier this week that the European Central Bank has launched a review of banks' lending to the shipping sector.

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