General Electric has offloaded its French consumer-credit unit to private equity firm Cerberus

Billy Bambrough
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Jeff Immelt, General Electric's chief executive, has moved the company away from financial services (Source: Getty)

US conglomerate General Electric has moved a step further away from financial services after finding a buyer for its French consumer-credit unit.

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has made a binding offer for the business.

The sale would represent ending net investment of approximately $4.6bn (£3.1bn) as of the end of the first quarter of 2016.

It excludes the platform’s $2bn prime mortgage portfolio which is being sold separately.

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Last year GE said it would offload the majority of its finance arm, GE Capital, and has managed to sell assets worth around $177bn since then.

GE Capital plans to sell approximately $200bn of GE Capital businesses worldwide and expects to have largely completed the process by the end of 2016.

Jeff Immelt, the US giant's chief executive, unveiled plans in April 2015 to reduce the size of GE Capital, moving the company's focus back to its manufacturing roots.

The plans included a huge $50bn (£34bn) share buyback scheme – the second largest ever.

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Keith Sherin, GE Capital chairman and chief executive, said:

As we continue to execute on our strategy to sell GE Capital’s businesses that aren’t linked to GE, with the remainder of these transactions primarily in Europe, we’re pleased to announce this agreement for the potential sale of GE Money Bank France and the DOMs to Cerberus.

The business is well-established in consumer finance and has made a substantial contribution to GE Capital’s European operations.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

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