Sumitomo Mitsui Buys GE Capital's European Buyout Finance Unit

LONDON ( The Deal) -- General Electric ( GE) announced an agreement on Tuesday to sell its European buyout finance business to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. Europe for about $2.2 billion, as it continues to refocus on its core industrial operations.

The deal, which was separately confirmed by SMBCE parent Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMFG), covers a portfolio of loans for acquisition finance, primarily extended to private-equity funds and the related businesses.

The deal includes personnel at the lending business, according to GE.

Sumitomo said that the loans relate to about 100 European companies and that the acquisition of the assets will accelerate its efforts to develop a more diversified portfolio of credit assets with higher quality and profitability.

It also said that the deal will allow it to broaden and strengthen its client base in the European market while diversifying its business portfolio.

The deal, reached between SMBCE, GE Corporate Finance Bank SCA and affiliates of GE Capital, doesn't include GE's $1 billion investment in the European Senior Secured Loan Programme and European Loan Programme, both joint ventures between affiliates of GE Capital and affiliates of Ares Capital (ARCC).

GE said that the deal is part of its strategy of divesting most of GE Capital, a program that has already resulted in agreements to sell about $23 billion in assets.

The program should be largely complete by the end of next year, providing dividends to GE of about $35 billion.

GE said that it is on track to sell $100 billion by the end of the year and that the sale of the portfolio to SMBCE would contribute about $400 million of capital to the dividend target.

"As GE Capital continues to execute on its strategy to sell most of the assets of GE Capital, this agreement with SMBCE shows our European businesses are of great interest to financial services firms around the world," Keith Sherin, GE Capital's chairman and chief executive said in a statement. "We had many indications of interest in this business and are pleased to partner with SMBCE on the sale of this franchise."

GE Capital said that its sale of Budapest Bank to the Hungarian State, also part of the sell-off plan, closed on Monday.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup Global Markets advised GE. Oliver Hipperson and Tim Lewis of Clifford Chance provided legal advice.

Barclays and David Holdsworth and Lorna Tennent of Linklaters advised SMBCE.

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