Home Equity: GE Capital to Buy Avco Units in Australia, New Zealand

By Habal, Hala | American Banker, May 26, 1999 | Go to article overview

Home Equity: GE Capital to Buy Avco Units in Australia, New Zealand


Habal, Hala, American Banker


GE Capital Corp. has agreed to buy all of Avco Financial Services businesses in Australia and New Zealand from Associates First Capital Corp.

Terms were not disclosed.

Stamford, Conn.-based GE Capital would join companies such as HomeSide Lending and Countrywide Home Loans that operate American-style mortgage banks in Australia and Europe.

Avco's Australian and New Zealand operations have 160 branch offices and assets of more than $1.2 billion.

Associates First, a Ford Motor Co. spinoff, bought Avco's worldwide operations in January from Textron Inc. Both companies are based in Dallas.

Avco has 1,265 branches worldwide and ranks No. 1 among consumer finance companies in Australia and No. 2 in Canada and the United Kingdom.

The purchase was Associates' biggest ever and brought it $6.2 billion of assets. The price, $3.9 billion in cash, was almost three times book value and 20 times Avco's earnings last year.

Associates announced in March that it was looking to unload parts of Avco.

Roy Guthrie, Associates' chief financial officer, said the planned sale to GE Capital-announced last week-would let his company redeploy capital more effectively in other markets.

Philip S. Walker, an analyst at Fitch IBCA Inc. …

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