StanChart to pay $1bn for GE loans unit

STANDARD Chartered, the emerging markets-focused bank, yesterday announced it was buying General Electric’s (GE) Singaporean car financing arm.

The bank did not reveal the terms of the transaction, although sources close to the deal said it was paying just under S$1bn (£490m) for GE Money, which has S$2.35bn of assets.

The deal is expected to close this quarter, pending regulatory approval, Standard Charted said in a statement.

GE Money is a subsidiary of GE Capital, part of the consumer finance arm of General Electric. The US conglomerate has been selling a raft of non-core assets in the wake of the financial crisis

The deal represents the growing importance to Standard Chartered of Singapore, which grew its economy by nearly 15 per cent last year.

Standard Chartered does not yet own a car financing business in the island city-state, where the high price of imported cars makes loans essential for many buyers.

“The acquisition is in line with our consumer banking strategy in the region. It provides opportunities for us to tap the mass affluent market and expand our market share in Singapore,” a spokesperson for Standard Chartered said.

Last week, the bank, which is headed up by Peter Sands, reiterated its commitment to hire another 2,000 people in Singapore by the end of 2012, adding to its staff of over 6,000 in the country.

In October of last year, the bank raised £3bn in a rights issue, which it said was to boost its Tier 1 capital ratio and not for acquisitions.