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UPDATED: GE Capital sells Australasian consumer finance arm for $8.6 billion

In New Zealand, GE Money has assets worth $1.4 billion, employing 800 staff with 530,000 customers.

Hamish McNicol
Mon, 16 Mar 2015

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UPDATED 10:53am: The New Zealand and Australian consumer finance businesses of GE Capital have been sold for about $8.6 billion in one of the region’s largest private equity transactions ever.

Businesses including GE Money, GE CreditLine, GEM Visa card and the Countdown OneCard Visa credit card were bought by an investor group including American multinational private equity firm KKR & Co., Deutsche Bank and $13.6b investment firm Värde Partners.

In New Zealand, GE Money has assets worth $1.4 billion, employing 800 staff with 530,000 customers.

Its credit cards fall under GE Finance and Insurance, which amalgamated with GE Capital NZ Funding in 2011.

All of the products and services will continue under the new ownership.

GE Capital, the finance company owned by US firm General Electric, will retain its commercial finance business, providing loans and leasing to medium-sized businesses.

GE Capital Australia and New Zealand chief executive Duncan Berry says the company will continue to build its commercial finance business in the region.

“Consumer finance has been a great business for GE and is well positioned for further growth."

GE Australia and New Zealand president and chief executive Geoff Culbert says the company has a strong platform for its industrial business in the region, particularly in oil and gas, energy, healthcare, aviation and mining.

"This transaction allows us to focus on our strategy to be the world's premier infrastructure technology company with a specialty commercial financial services business.”

Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley were advisers to GE on the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Moelis & Company and Citi were advisers to the consortium.

Further terms of the transaction will not be disclosed.

In September, GE Capital confirmed its New Zealand consumer finance businesses were up for sale.

"The decision to explore options to sell the consumer business fits with our overall strategy to be the world's premier infrastructure technology company and the leading specialty finance provider to the mid-market," a company spokesman said at the time.

In calendar 2013 GE Finance and Insurance returned to profit, reporting earnings of $69.9 million and turning around a loss of $20.4 million a year earlier, which included a $138 million charge to a related party.

It had loans and receivables worth $1.9 billion as at December 31, 2013.

Hamish McNicol
Mon, 16 Mar 2015
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UPDATED: GE Capital sells Australasian consumer finance arm for $8.6 billion
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