Lloyds Banking Group
State-backed Lloyds Banking Group sold loans to Cerberus as it cuts down its balance sheet Reuters

Lloyds Banking Group has sold a book of British commercial real-estate loans to the American hedge fund Cerberus for £352m, as it reduces its balance sheet further.

The price is a 34% discount on the loans' gross value of £536m, according to the state-backed Lloyds, who sold to the Cerberus-affiliate, Promontoria Holding 109 BV.

It is the latest in a series of moves by European banks to shift non-core loans off their books onto private equity firms.

The portfolio returned a £17m ($28.5m, €20.9) loss in 2013, Lloyds said.

In a statement, the bank said the proceeds from the sale will be used for "general corporate purposes", and will not have a material financial impact on the group or its capital position as it had taken provisions against the assets previously.

It is the second time Lloyds has offloaded a portfolio at a discount to Cerberus in the last year. The banks sold a £812m portfolio of commercial real-estate loans to the private equity group in November 2013, at a 21% discount.

The European Union is forcing banks that received a government bailout to sell assets, as it tries to increase competition in the sector.

Lloyds expects the deal to be completed in the second half of 2014.